Stars Are Batty About 'Everyone's Hero'

It's immediately evident that the new animated family film "Everyone's Hero" is a long way from Pixar. That sounds like an insult, but for one of the project's vocal stars, it was a plus.

"It's a lovely script," raves William H. Macy. "I like the simplicity of it and the beauty of it. Some of the Pixar films, you know, they've got all of those double entendres in it for adults and some of the jokes, truthfully... I think when you're with your six-year-old, you have to say, 'Daddy, why is it funny when the cookie says 'Eat me,' and you say, 'Well, um, because if you ate him, he wouldn't be there, would he?' This doesn't have any of that. It's so pure and clean and it's about 'Keep swinging and don't give up.'"

"Everyone's Hero" is, indeed, an entirely irony-free piece of inspirational storytelling, focusing on a 10-year-old boy who has to go on a quest to rescue Babe Ruth's bat from an evil Chicago Cubs pitcher (voiced by Macy) to help save the 1932 World Series. Joining Macy in the film's vocal cast are Whoopi Goldberg, Robert Wagner, Richard Kind, Mandy Patinkin, Forest Whitaker, an uncredited Robin Williams and a slew of other stars drawn by a single factor: "Everyone's Hero" was shepherded into production by Christopher Reeve, who passed away during production, but is still credited as a director.

"Chris had done a film that I wrote a lot time ago and that was a big boon to my fledgling writing career," Macy explains. "I knew him in New York before that. And Chris and Dana's spirit is all over this thing, so pretty much everybody who was contacted to say 'You want to make sure this thing gets done?' everybody said 'Yeah.'"

Another of the performers who said "Yeah" was actor-director Rob Reiner, who lends his pipes to an ornery talking baseball named screwy, which forced the once-and-former Meathead to get in touch with his inner piece of sporting equipment.

"I actually went and did a lot of research on this," Reiner explains. "I talked to as many baseballs as I could -- ones that are used for fungos, ones that are used for games, ones that are just batting practice balls -- they all have a different slant on it and I took from all of them."

The "Spinal Tap" director is kidding and eager to kid some more. What was the best piece of advice he got?

"Well, the best advice I got was from this one ball who was used in a T-ball game... And it basically said, 'There are no small baseballs, only small...' something or others."

And how are contemporary baseballs different from their 1930s predecessors?

"The contemporary baseball is looking for more perks, to be quite honest," Reiner emphasizes. The old baseball would be just happy to play the game, the love of the game. The new baseball likes to be kept in a humidor. He says 'I'm not going to be used for more than three batters.' There are performance clauses."

Experience the joy of a talking baseball named Screwy when "Everyone's Hero" opens everywhere on Friday, Sept. 15.