Q: What drew you to this project?
A: I actually started my film career when I was at the University of Buffalo, doing the coaching films for the Bills®. I went back to my hometown after more than 30 years to work with the same people I shot my very first frame of professional film. I also like films that have real humanity in the story. Real people under stress, albeit very funny. There are some really funny moments in SECOND STRING, and we infused it with a great deal of passion and reality.
Q: What are the keys to making a successful sports film?
A: The key is to not make the film cliche. You've got to break the formula and come up with original colors to paint so that the story is not foretold. I think we've managed to do that. Having a really good cast and a good script with original elements makes for a rousing sports film.
Q: How did you go about choosing the cast for SECOND STRING?
A: We wanted to be realistic and honest to the point of getting actors who really seemed like they could be athletes. Each role was cast with that in mind. One of our second stringers is an actual professional football player, and the rest are great actors with realistic football body types.
Q: How were the crowds created?
A: We have great special effects in this movie. I've worked on several special effects movies in my career, but this was probably the most involved. The games in the movie were shot on green screen. We went to actual games and filmed crowds reactions -- cheering, booing. All of this was loaded into a computer to create the crowds. We created the illusion that the players were standing in front of thousands of people. Done right, the audience won't even notice.
Q: At the core of this story is the relationship between a coach and his quarterback. Talk about that relationship.
A: Regarding the characters, Coach Dichter and Dan Heller have a long history together. They had a losing season years ago and lost their jobs, so they both carry some animosity. Coach Dichter ends up bringing in Dan Heller as a punching bag for his defense. Through a fluke, Dan Heller ends up having to quarterback the team through the Super Bowl┐. They go from hostility toward each other to a point where, in the final plays of the Super Bowl®, they finally reach a common ground.
Q: What would you like audiences to take away from SECOND STRING?
A: I hope that people are entertained. I hope they're engaged. I hope they laugh. I want them to have really enjoyed themselves after watching this movie.