Township's Former Yankee Aims for Big Screen Success
Billy Sample, a former Major Leaguer who lives in Washington Township, recently finished shooting a movie he wrote called "Reunion 108."
A Washington Township resident — who happens to also be a former Major Leaguer who played for the Yankees — recently finished filming a movie he wrote that was inspired by his experiences on and off the baseball field.
Billy Sample, who played for the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves during his Major League career, wrote the screenplay for his movie, Reunion 108, last year and submitted it to the Hoboken International Film Festival, where it won an award for best unproduced screenplay. After his son, Ian, returned to Washington Township from a professional football career in Japan this year, the two set out to get the movie made along with help from executive producer Bryan Civitarese, who owns the Dairy Queen in town.
The movie is a comedy centered around a reunion game between former baseball players in their 50s and 30s, but the game itself is not the focus. The players exchange funny stories about their past careers, which are told with the aid of flashbacks. Sample said many of the topics discussed are a little "off-kilter."
"It's an edgy, satirical comedy," Sample said. "A lot like me, actually."
Sample said that he was inspired for the movie when he saw former players go out to have the same kind of fun they did when they were young.
"Older people can still act like adolescents," Sample said. "We probably don't recoup as quickly."
Much of Reunion 108 was shot locally, including scenes at The Cornerstone in Hillsdale and the Knights of Columbus in Washington Township. The movie has 86 speaking roles, which were filled by a mix of professional actors, former Major Leaguers and area residents.
Sample said they finished filming about a month ago. He hopes for a theatrical release sometime in August, but they're still hoping to raise more money to pay for the editing. Anyone interested in contributing can visit their Indiegogo page, which also features a brief teaser from the movie.
If everything goes well with Reunion 108, the Samples have plans to make more movies. Ian Sample has written three screenplays they're hoping to shoot, if they can find people interested in working with them.