According to Variety, if you're looking to become a Hollywood player, it helps to bring your own team of heavy-hitters. After a 16-year career in Major League Baseball, Todd Zeile has traded in his ballcap for a producer's hat -- and tapped former teammates Jason Giambi, Tom Glavine, Cliff Floyd, Robin Ventura, Al Leiter and Mike Piazza as investors.
Zeile's first bigscreen producing foray, the under-$5 million teen comedy Dirty Deeds, bows Aug. 26 on more than 60 screens in Los Angeles via Freestyle Releasing. Plan is to take the film nationwide next month.
Zeile says it's been helpful to know his investors during the two years it took to go from initial concept to opening the film. Initial skepticism has turned to delight even though only Leiter's seen anything close to a final cut.
"They're glad that we have a real movie," he adds. "For a long time, they thought this movie was going to be me walking around with a Super 8 camera."
The notion of becoming a producer dawned on Zeile while he was with the Yankees in 2003, when he received an offer to invest in an indie film.
So Zeile, who played for an astounding 11 different teams during his baseball career, formed Green Diamond Entertainment with partner Bill Civitella.
With Dirty Deeds -- on which Yankees slugger Giambi is also an exec producer -- they're going after the same aud that flocked to such high school-set films as American Pie and Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Pic, set during homecoming weekend, stars Milo Ventimiglia and Lacey Chabert and centers on an unsanctioned competition to complete the titular tasks between dusk to dawn on a single Friday night.
The tagline's simple -- "12 hours. 10 challenges. One wild night."
"We're not trying to make art films here," Civitella admits.
Zeile, who turns 40 in September, says he has no regrets about trading the big leagues for Hollywood.
"It's been great and hectic at the same time," Zeile says of his new gig dealing with test screenings, bus bench ads and a distribution plans.