A reimagining of Penny Marshall’s 1992 film of the same title, Prime Video’s A League of Their Own series aims to establish its own legacy. Co-creator and executive producer Abbi Jacobson stars as Carson Shaw, an aspiring baseball player whose insecurities come to light when she joins the Rockford Peaches. Alongside Jacobson’s character, Chanté Adams’ Max Chapman plays a pivotal role in the series’ narrative, as she strives to play baseball as a Black woman in America.
Both Carson and Max experience different journeys of playing the game they love, as part of their bond also stems their existence as queer women. Like the original movie, Prime Video’s A League of Their Own bases itself on the true story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which recruited women to take the field in the 1940s. The series features Will Graham as co-creator alongside Jacobson and additionally stars D’Arcy Carden, Melanie Field, Roberta Colindrez, Molly Ephraim, Kelly McCormack, Priscilla Delgado, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Kate Berlant, and Gbemisola Ikumelo.
Jacobson is known for the comedy series Broad City, in which she starred alongside Ilana Glazer from 2014-2019. Jacobson recently headlined the voice cast of 2021’s The Mitchells vs the Machines. Adams notably starred in the 2017 film Roxanne Roxanne. She has also appeared in Bad Hair, Monsters and Men, and A Journal For Jordan.
Screen Rant interviewed Jacobson and Adams about broadening the story of the original film in Prime Video’s A League of Their Own, as well as the series’ emphasis on representing LGBTQ+ individuals.
Screen Rant: Like the original A League of Their Own movie, this show shines a light on women’s empowerment at a time when women weren’t very empowered. Abbi, as co-creator, what inspired you to re-tell this story?
Abbi Jacobson: I think, even from the initial conversations that Will Graham and I had about embarking on this, you know, the film is so iconic and we both agreed it does not need to be remade. If we were gonna do it, we really want to be focusing on the stories that were not told. And whether they were not able to be told in 1992 or the limitations of the film real estate, and now we have all this time, we really wanted to focus on the generation of women who were playing baseball in 1943 and really expand the lens.
Chanté, your character Max has a much longer and more difficult road to playing baseball. Can you talk about her journey of overcoming adversity as a Black woman and how that contributes to the overall message of the show?
Chanté Adams: Max is fighting a war on two fronts, being a Black woman and a Black queer woman during this time period. So, just making sure that she was properly represented in an authentic way, of course, we all want to see Max join the Peaches in the first episode with everyone else, but that’s not authentic to the time period, and that was important to make sure that we were telling the stories in a very real way. Max’s journey does take a little longer, but I also feel like there’s more of a reward, you know? When Max finally gets that moment, everyone is gonna feel it. So, yeah, that’s really important.
In the show, we see Carson and Max in separate queer relationships. Can both of you speak on the importance of not just representing members of the LGBTQ+ community, but also including the very complicated reality of being in a relationship during this time period?
Abbi Jacobson: Carson and Max are really the hinge of the show, and they’re really bonded through baseball — the pitcher-catcher dynamic — but they’re really bonded through queerness. Part of each of their arcs is really finding their queer communities, and part of that is finding each other and just knowing you’re less alone. They both end up, in slightly different ways, really realizing that the world is way bigger and “I’m not alone.”
Also, with that, I think they both see the dangers of being queer in 1943 and what the rules are of doing that, and the limitations, the stakes, and the risks. So, we’re seeing both of those simultaneously and yeah, I think that was really important how we’re showing those differences and those similarities in both the characters’ experiences.
Chanté Adams: That’s Max and Carson’s first interaction we see when Max catches Carson in the storage room with Greta (D’Arcy Carden). So, queerness is the establishing moment of their relationship. To be able to go through this journey together I think is really important and special because at some point in their journeys, they feel like they’re the only people that they can talk to. They’re the only people that can understand what they’re going through, internally, when it relates to their queerness. I think that the bond that they build off of that is really beautiful.
It’s been 30 years since the original A League of Their Own was released. How do you hope to carry on the legacy of the movie?
Abbi Jacobson: I hope that we’re carrying on the legacy of the movie by continuing the spirit and the joy that’s represented in that film, but I think it’s more about opening it up a little bit.
Chanté Adams: Yeah. I think the movie needs no help with carrying its own legacy. It’s been 30 years and people still talk about how it’s their absolute favorite movie, as it should be. So, what we’re doing is just expanding that world and creating our own legacy that we hope we can uphold just as well as they do.
A League Of Their Own Synopsis
A League of Their Own evokes the joyful spirit of Penny Marshall’s beloved classic, while widening the lens to tell the story of an entire generation of women who dreamed of playing professional baseball, both in and outside of the AAGPBL. The show follows Carson (Abbi Jacobson) and Max (Chanté Adams) and a new ensemble of sharp and hilarious characters as they carve their paths toward the field, along the way finding their teams and themselves.
Check back throughout the week for the rest of our interviews with the cast of A League of Their Own, including stars D’Arcy Carden & Melanie Field, as well as with EPs Will Graham & Desta Tedros Reff.
All eight episodes of A League of Their Own season 1 premiere on Prime Video on Friday, August 12.