Documentary Chronicling Bryce Harper's Rise To MLB Stardom Set To Debut On ESPN
MLB Productions has partnered with Maryland-based film production outfit 3 Penny Films on "Bryce Begins," a one-hour documentary on Nationals CF Bryce Harper that will air tomorrow night on ESPN at 9:00pm ET. The film blends footage taken over the past two years by 3 Penny Films, led in part by former NFLer and WUSA-TV sports anchor Jess Atkinson, with more recent material shot by MLB Productions. Unlike many sports documentaries that chronicle an athlete after his career is over, "Bryce Begins" seeks to take the exclusive access it received and capture Harper early in his MLB playing days. MLB Productions Exec Producer David Gavant said, "We were looking for the right opportunity to catch a player at the beginning of their career, and we think we've got something here with Bryce." Among those appearing in "Bryce Begins" are Harper's agent Scott Boras, writers Tom Verducci and Will Leitch, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo and 3B Ryan Zimmerman, Angels LF Mike Trout, and Baseball HOFer Cal Ripken Jr. Filmmakers from both outfits said the documentary shows a very different aspect to Harper than the brash reputation he carried when he was selected first overall in the '10 MLB Draft. Atkinson said, "He's a completely different person than the preconceptions, and for any filmmaker, that's a pretty important gap." He added, "We were basically asking a 19-year-old to be reflective, which isn't a natural thing at that age. But he was more than up to the task, and we were basically there as he transitioned from a young man to his own man" (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). Gavant said, "To be able to document somebody's career from that first chapter, we've never done this before. We're hoping there are many chapters of this book, so to speak, so that we can continue to add to this story" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 4/28).