Seven years ago, former University of South Carolina football teammates Rob Miller and Mark Ellis parlayed their expertise in a wide range of sports into a profitable career in show biz. Miller, who lives in Charleston, and Ellis, a Columbia resident, co-founded ReelSports Solutions, Inc., billed as a one-stop sports entertainment company.
When we reported on Reelsports back in 2004, it was involved in everything from casting actors in feature films and TV to working with established stars to train them to be more believable in the sport they were asked to play, not to mention choreographing sports sequences, handling second-unit direction and working with elite athletes. "Miracle" and "Radio" already were among their credits.
Ellis is no longer with the company, but Miller is going great guns. Still, we didn't expect him to be a cog in the wheel of "Chak De India," an immensely popular Indian film that's currently threatening box-office records in that movie-mad nation.
Miller, a one-time strength and conditioning coach at USC and Georgia Tech, says director Shimit Amin's tale of a man (Indian superstar Shah Rukh Khan) who mentors a hockey team of young and feisty females is exceeding all expectations in India.
"It's starting to be referred to as a 'landmark film.' Plus, a few of the athletes we helped cast have now become overnight stars there. Not often is there this kind of connection with India for a small S.C. company, and it was quite an adventure to boot."
It's also doing well in limited Stateside engagements. So much so that The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has requested a copy of the screenplay for its permanent script collection.
Initially, Reelsports served as consultants for the overall project with Miller later taking over as sports action director.