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What better place for a tall Texan like Jones to shine before the cameras than his home, the Lone Star State. Though the story was originally set in Virginia, says Reuther, "we knew it could play anywhere and because Tommy Lee is from Texas, we felt we could relocate the story there and change the character from an FBI agent to a Texas Ranger.”

Jones had no objections to the change. ”I didn't choose the location but I was certainly happy they chose Texas,” he smiles. "Austin is a very friendly environment to filmmakers. And we enjoyed a great deal of cooperation from the University of Texas. They were forthcoming and cooperative — a real pleasure for me and the entire company.”

Director Herek's alma mater (he attended the UT film school) granted him complete access to their ample campus, which more than 52,000 students (the largest enrollment in the nation) call home from August through May. "It was kind of like a homecoming in a way,” says Herek, "but it was also kind of surreal to be there on the campus where I went to film school. They were very helpful. They had lent their campus to movies before, but had never given permission to use their name and logos. We worked with the school's actual cheerleaders and their coach and football staff and they allowed us to shoot during football games.”

While cameras were present at an actual UT Longhorn game early in the season to capture crowd reactions, Herek also staged his own football action at the sprawling Texas Memorial (choreographed by veteran stuntman Allan Graf, who played college football for the NCAA's 1972 national champion USC Trojans). The company filled the stands with over 9,000 cheering extras for the three-day shoot to cheer including the Texas Spirit groups, a colorful coalition of diehard football devotees who don the most unusual costumes as they rally the Longhorns to victory. "We actually got to shoot the UT cheerleaders in their stadium filled with 85,000 people,” Reuther enthuses. "The pageantry was huge and spectacular. It's this giant production number that they put on once a week. College football is just amazing and we tried to give a feel for all that in the film.”

"The UT football program is epic,” adds producer Stewart. "Everything about it is ritualized to an almost Olympian level. It was so much fun to shoot the actual football game. All we had to do was turn on the cameras and watch the drama unfold. They have steam when the players run through the tunnel and come out on the field. There are 350 band members, who are also included in the movie. For our three-day shoot, the band really put their hearts into it. They gave it their all.”

Another amazing Austin landmark Herek used was the Governor's mansion in downtown Austin, in the shadows of one of the country's most majestic governmental edifices, the towering State Capital building on North Congress Street. While California recently anointed an actor as governor, Texas has a governor who is interested in acting. Governor Rick Perry welcomed the filmmakers to his stately, Greek revival mansion (built in 1855) for a half-day of filming early in the schedule. The politician, who served as Lt. Governor under Governor George W. Bush, made his big screen debut (playing himself) opposite Jones before the company moved to the state capital complex for additional scenes in the movie.

"Governor Perry and I have been friends for a while,” Jones points out. "I campaigned for him when he ran for Secretary of Agriculture the first time. He made a pretty good hand around the movie set. He hit his marks, knew his lines and was quite consistent. He has some talent as an actor for sure.”

Other locations around Austin included the Millennium Youth Complex (where Jones and his cheerleading co-stars donned roller blades for a scene in which Sharp takes the girls skating), a downtown iron-and


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