We gave it a B
The story of an aging coach (Pacino) who confronts the drastic pressures of the modern pro-ball world was an idea Stone had been kicking around for more than a decade. ”I wanted to make this kind of movie with Charles Bronson,” he says. ”In the early ’80s, I wrote a treatment that he never even read.”
This time Hollywood’s lightning rod for controversy was more successful, attracting not only a stellar cast (many of whom he says took pay cuts to help the movie come under the $55 million budget) but also an impressive list of gridiron legends (Dick Butkus, Johnny Unitas, and Lawrence Taylor) to round out the lineup.
Stone put his players through 10 weeks of football training camp, but in order to sign up, some experience was required. After Foxx (”The Jamie Foxx Show,” ”The Truth About Cats & Dogs”) read for his part as a young quarterback who replaces an older one (Quaid), he was asked to provide a videotape of himself playing football. ”When I turned in the tape,” says Foxx, ”that’s what kind of sold it.”
Stone says several other actors were cut when they turned out not to be as athletic as they’d claimed. The director won’t name names, but according to The Miami Herald, Sean ”Puffy” Combs reportedly dropped out over issues concerning his athletic ability. For the record, however, Stone insists that Combs departed over ”scheduling conflicts.” Not even Stone, it seems, wants to get on Puffy’s bad side. BUZZ FACTOR: 6
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