THE HOLLYWOOD SCENE
Stories about town

“Mi Barrio”

 

LA’s entertainment industry & immigrant community compete for more than just kicks.

 

MIGUEL’s immigration status is iffy at best. The wealthy family he works for doesn't press the issue because he's the best gardener the estate's ever had. One day, he and the pool boy ALBERTO are kicking around a soccer ball on the back lawn. LAIRD, a powerful entertainment Producer is on a heated conference call, but becomes distracted by Miquel’s incredible ball skills. Laird is also Captain and lead Striker for an elite Hollywood soccer team. They are in first place and winning the league is just as important as finding a story for his next hit movie.

 

After his call, Laird purposely heads out back to find Miguel tending to the flowers. In return for his soccer expertise, Laird offers to hire Miguel as his special assistant, help him with his English and clear up any citizenship issues. An unlikely bond is formed as the two begin spending time doing things and going places Miguel never imagined.

 

Miguel morphs into MICKEY as he futbols his way towards the American Dream. An idea he contributes is going to make the firm millions and he’s been promised to be taken care of. Laird’s super-team makes him the talk of the industry party circuit and The Beverly Hills Courier even begins covering the team’s games. In one article, Laird is quoted talking about his protogé: “This kid lives to win. And he’s got the kind of cajones we value at our company.”

 

All the while, Miguel continues to return home to his neighborhood, where he also leads a ‘football’ team of his two brothers and three cousins to the East LA city championship. The newspaper La Opinión reports on the squad’s dominance and their star Miguel. The only one not so happy with all this is Miguel’s pregnant girlfriend REINA. She’s worried his double life will eventually catch up with him.

 

Everything remains small and local until LA Times Reporter BILL Plaschke is pouring over a stack of local LA sport sections with his morning coffee. He’s drawn to the swagger of the two soccer teams from opposite ends of the city and the stories about their top players. Very quickly, Bill discovers Miguel and Mickey are actually the same person. When he confronts him about what he’ll do if the two teams end up playing for city title, he’s told to get lost. Bill gives Miguel his card anyway – just in case he ever wants to talk.

 

Later, Laird is injured in a game and Miguel takes him for treatment. “I told you that knee was done five years ago and now you’ve really done it,” says the doctor. “One more leg tackle like that and you’ll probably never walk again.” Laird promises to retire after he wins the championship. Miguel is fascinated by Laird’s commitment and wonders how far he’d actually go for something he wanted.

 

The unlikely possibility becomes a reality and Miguel’s two teams are set to meet at the Home Depot Center for the championship game. When Miguel confesses to his brother about his other team and secret Beverly Hills life, ALVAREZ turns his back on him. When he tells Laird he can’t compete against his family, Laird becomes infuriated that he would even consider playing for his neighborhood. “It’s mi barrio,” says Miguel. As he leaves, Laird threatens to have him deported if he even shows his face at the game. Confused, scared and pissed, Miguel calls Bill, who uses his newspaper column and ESPN’s Around the Horn's Face Time to promote the championship game and this young man’s unique struggle.

 

It works and on the day of the game, the stands are packed. On one side: LA’s power elite - harmonizing their new Randy Newman penned soccer anthem. On the other side, a proud and energetic Mexican crowd.

 

Just as the contest is about to start, Miguel shows up wearing the jersey of his neighborhood and it’s game on. Lots of breathtaking back and forth action ensues. With time running down and the game tied, Laird receives a long pass that sends him on a breakaway with a chance to win the game. Miguel sprints across the pitch and comes upon Laird just outside the scoring box. He knows he can get the ball with a sliding leg tackle, but the doctor’s words of warning echo in his head. Laird charges forward - prepared to never walk again rather than sacrifice his chance for the trophy and title.

 

Not willing to take out the man who did so much for him, Muguel pulls up at the last second allowing Laird to get off his shot. The ball slow arcs towards the corner of the net before banging off the post – no goal – game over! The crowd is stunned silent before exploding in celebration. Nobody seems to really care the game ended in a tie. Fans from both sides pour on the field and start singing and dancing together. Through the crowd, Laird makes his way to Miguel and whispers to him that it looks like they’ve discovered the story for their next project. In true soccer tradition, the two swap jerseys and join the crowd of happy Angelinos.


Mi Barrio:
• Ideal role for a rising Latin leading man
• Perfect project for entertainment industry people who love soccer
• Topical subject matter: illegal immigration
• Natural partnerships with local pro soccer clubs
• Needed kinship with the Mexican-American community
• Fresh exposure for LA Times, Beverly Hills Courier & La Opinión.