RYE, N.Y. -- A baseball game was in full swing on Tuesday in scorching 88-degree heat at Rye High School's home field.
But it was the Hawks against the Ravens (not the Harrison Huskies against the Rye Garnets) and it involved fictional Little League teams being filmed for episode three of a 12-part Showtime pilot. Yellow road signs marked "BLNS" -- insider code for "Billions" -- led film crews, trailer caravans and actors to Rye High/Middle School parking lots.
Child actors from as far away as New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut flocked to the Rye athletic fields off Boston Post Road for a one-day film shoot.
"Billions" is a project co-created by Andrew Ross Sorkin, a 1995 graduate of Scarsdale High School, financial reporter with The New York Times and co-anchor of CNBC's "Squawk Box."
Showtime's pilot purportedly chronicles conflicts and collusion between a fictional U.S. Attorney from New York and a cache of rich hedge fund managers. The blue Ravens' baseball squad shirts carried a sponsor name "Silverblade Capital,'' on their backs -- if that yields a clue for prospective TV series' fans.
"Teddy," a young batter from Long Island, performed take after take for hours Tuesday afternoon between water breaks and parents hovering by to make sure their children -- most of them hired through talent agencies -- were well-hydrated. A bleacher full of baseball "parent" actors cheered from behind the Rye backstop. Academy Award nominee and New Haven native Paul Giamatti, arms crossed while standing next to the Hawks' third-base coach, looked on as runners rounded the bases.
Unlike some of the other promising star actors invited for baseball roles on Tuesday, "Teddy" actually will play in Little League playoffs this month in Cooperstown, N.Y., according to his mother, who said, "It looks like he is having a blast." Parents of actors were prohibited from taking any photos on the TV film set.
Passersby tried to catch sneak peeks of Giamatti -- an Emmy Award-winning actor who stars in the pilot set to premiere in 2016. "Billions" also features British actor/producer Damian Lewis, best known for military officer roles in Showtime's "Homeland" -- which landed Lewis a Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe Award -- and HBO's "Band of Brothers."
Loyal film crew members and security guards kept parents, curious dog walkers and news photographers away from most of the TV film action on the Rye High baseball diamond.
Longford's Ice Cream shop, a popular mainstay in Rye, dispatched an ice cream truck to the delight of perspiring young actors and production crew.
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