A casting call has gone out for football players as filming is set to begin on April 22 — though nowhere close to California.
By CHACE BRYSON | Editor
It appears that production on “When the Game Stands Tall” — the movie based on the Neil Hayes’ book documenting the rise of the De La Salle football program under coach Bob Ladouceur and the Spartans’ 2002 season — is about ready to begin in earnest.
On April 2, Mandalay Pictures released an open casting call for football players. It appears they have chosen the greater New Orleans area to film the football scenes. Casting interviews begin April 15 with on-field tryouts beginning on April 17. The casting call lists shooting to begin on April 22 and lasting seven weeks.
The production crew is using Chalmette High School for interviews and tryouts, though there is nothing saying the site will be used for game scenes as well. After looking at Chalmette’s football stadium via Google satellite, it’s definitely more elaborate than De La Salle’s humble digs of Owen Owens Stadium. That either becomes a Hollywood oversight, or perhaps it will be used for one of the neutral site games against Long Beach Poly, St. Louis-Honolulu, or the NCS championship game of that 2002 season (played against San Leandro).
Hayes’ book alternated chapters going back and forth between a chronicle of the 2002 team’s quest to keep the The Streak alive, and a biographical profile of Ladouceur and his building of the program. So without knowing how the book has been adapted to screenplay, there’s really no way to know exactly which games will be chosen for filming. Will they stick to just games from the 2002 season, or perhaps film flashbacks to previous landmark games of The Streak (Mater Dei – 2000 and Long Beach Poly – 2001, among others)?
It seems as though there’s a good chance the movie won’t deal with anything AFTER 2002, since the casting call described the streak as 138 games — the number it was at following that 2002 season. De La Salle would go 13-0 in 2003 to reach 151 consecutive wins before losing its season-opener of 2004 against Bellevue (Wash.) in Seattle.
Finally, it appears that the actual coordination of the football scenes for the movie will be in very good hands. The casting call is being run by Allan Graf, who our brief research shows is THE guy when it comes to football in Hollywood. According to IMDB.com, Graf was a standout at USC and was part of the Trojans’ 1972 National Championship team as well their 1973 Rose Bowl Champion team. He was briefly with the Los Angeles Rams before playing two years in the World Football League.
However, it is Graff’s film work fans of De La Salle should be excited about. His IMDB bio credits him for designing and staging football action sequences including the well-known films “Any Given Sunday,” “The Replacements,” “The Program,” “The Waterboy,” “Jerry Maguire” and “The Express,” to name a few. Even more encouraging though, would be the fact that he worked on the television series, “Friday Night Lights,” — which was extremely successful in bringing a realistic look to Texas high school football.
It’s already been reported that actor Jim Caviezel has been chosen for the role of Ladouceur. He was on hand for De La Salle’s CIF Open Division Bowl Championship victory over Centennial-Corona in December. He watched the game from the sidelines and observed Ladouceur during the Spartans’ pregame, halftime and postgame activities.
De La Salle 2002 Season / Game by Game
DLS 24, Archbishop Mitty-San Jose 0
DLS 31, St. Louis-Honolulu 21
DLS 14, St. Francis-Mountain View 0
DLS 56, La Costa Canyon-Carlsbad 27
DLS 28, Long Beach Poly 7
DLS 48, Liberty-Brentwood 0
DLS 46, Freedom-Oakley 7
DLS 52, Pittsburg 6
DLS 42, Clayton Valley-Concord 0
DLS 35, Ygnacio Valley-Concord 0
DLS 62, Antioch 13
DLS 47, Hayward 7
DLS 42, San Leandro 14
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