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About The Location
"The Rookie" was shot entirely on location in and around Austin, Texas. The film's primary location was in Thorndale, northeast of Austin, which stood in for Big Lake. The Thorndale High School field, usually home to the Thorndale Bulldogs, became the home to the Big Lake Owls. Other Williamson County locations were found in Taylor, Thrall, Hutto, and the recently opened Dell Diamond in Round Rock. The company traveled to The Ballpark in Arlington, home field of the Texas Rangers, for four days and had the honor of being the first film company to shoot on the field during an actual game since the stadium opened in 1994.

From the start, the filmmakers felt strongly that the movie be shot in Texas. The director felt that the movie could've been shot in several different places, "but there's always kind of a good thing when you go into a town and it feels like a Texas town. And there's a great benefit to the actors who are always round people from Texas. It rubs off in real subtle but pure ways.

''I think it was critical to shoot the film in Texas," producer Johnson states. "It's a Texas story and, as much as possible, you like to go back to where the story originated. It comes down to the details. You'd like to be able to look out a window and see something other than a backdrop or translight.''

A native of Houston, Texas, Quaid always looks forward to working in Texas. "It's great here," he smiles, ''amid I don 't have to learn the accent."

''John always wanted to make Texas a major texture of this movie,'' Cinematographer John Schwartzman adds. "Amid we've tried to incorporate the real flavor of Texas in every shot. The skies and the clouds are very special to this place, as are the heat amid the wind and the dust." The cinematographer found shooting the drama of a baseball game ''harder than shooting a car chase. In a car chase you can always cut to the shot of the car bumper coming right at the lens. If you feel like it's dragging for a minute, you cut to some tires squealing around a corner. You can 't do that in a baseball game. It really becomes about the details and a lot of cuts to be able to make it work.''

Schwartzman, aware of Hancock's reference to The Last Picture Show'' and ''Places in the Heart," described their visual challenge as "how to stay out of the way and let the moments just kind of happen.

The production recreated Morris' first game in the majors at the American League's Texas Rangers' home stadium The Ballpark at Arlington. A beautiful, state-of-the-art stadium, The Ballpark was designed and built with tradition and intimacy in mind, containing such features as a granite-and- brick facade, an asymmetrical playing field, exposed structured steel and a home run porch in right field. The production used the field for 90 seconds during the seventh inning stretch of a Rangers-Indians game, amid continued to shoot on the field after the game. Major League Baseball and the Rangers were extremely supportive to the production, helping make the time and location available.

''Pitching on the field in Arlington was like a dream come true," Quaid recalls. "Reliving that moment when Jim ran on to the field with 40,000 fans going crazy was truly fantastic."

"It's a great moment," says Rachel Griffiths. "His wife, Lorri, hasn't seen him in three months because he's been off pitching in the minor leagues. Then, there he is - your man come out of the bullpen, in uniform; you're overwhelmed with pride; you're just beaming, thinking, 'Oh my gosh, how did we get here?!'"

"That day was one of the most special days of my life," say's Morris. "It ranks up there with my kids being born . The<

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