Biographical Drama About First Deaf MLB Player Being Filmed in West Kentucky

Feb 8, 2018

William “Dummy” Hoy, 1888
Credit Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

A biographical drama about the first deaf Major League Baseball player is being filmed in west Kentucky. The Silent Natural follows the story of late 19th Century baseball player William “Dummy” Hoy.

Director, writer and producer David Risotto said the story of Dummy Hoy takes place in a small western town during the 1880s.

“It’s a feel good story. It’s about an underdog who fought hard to get to do what he wanted to in life. It’s a hero story,” said Risotto.

Hoy grew up in in Houcktown, Ohio. Before he was noticed by a pro scout, he owned a shoe repair shop. Hoy played in the minor leagues for two years before signing with the Washington Senators in 1888.

According to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, Hoy went on to play for seven teams in his 14-year MLB career and used sign language to communicate with teammates.

Director David Risotto
Credit Ani Kyd Wolf

The film will feature scenes shot in Hopkinsville, Copper Canyon, Oak Grove, and Dawson Springs. Risotto said he chose locations based on architecture and interior styles. He said tax incentives from the Kentucky Film Commission were another big draw for coming to the state.

In 2007, Risotto wrote, directed and produced the documentary Dummy Hoy: A Deaf Hero. He said he’s wanted to do a feature film ever since the documentary’s release, but said it took him 10 years to find people who shared his same vision for Hoy’s story.

“I promised the family that I would use deaf actors to portray him and any other deaf role. Fought long and hard to keep it that way. Got private investors to put up the money, because they saw the same vision,” said Risotto.

Risotto plans to release the film in March 2019, at the start of the spring baseball season.

The filmmakers will host open auditions for local actors on Saturday, Februray 10th. Risotto said they are looking to cast extras. The auditions will be held at Art N Motion Studios on Saturday after 3pm. Actors are encouraged to bring 1880s costumes.

Art N Motion Studios

512 S Clay St, Hopkinsville, KY 42240