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About The Characters And Cast
The heart of GLORY ROAD is the story of the unstoppable drive and courage of Don Haskins—so it was key from the beginning to find the right young actor to portray the green but passionately ambitious coach whose love of winning spurred major changes in the game of basketball and the equality of college sports. The filmmakers unanimously agreed that Josh Lucas, the rising young star who came to the fore in "A Beautiful Mind” and "Sweet Home Alabama” and who has appeared most recently in such films as "Stealth” and "An Unfinished Life,” had a palpable connection to the essence of Haskins—his ability to be at once intimidating, demanding, merciless and also incredibly inspirational.

Says Jerry Bruckheimer: "Josh Lucas was the right man to play Don Haskins. There is an intensity to him and, most importantly, he knows how to motivate other actors and he threw himself into the role with complete devotion.”

Director James Gartner adds, "From the very beginning, Josh was sensitive to what he needed to do to bring Don Haskins to life on screen. An actor must bring their individual personality to a role, and Josh did a fabulous job making this character his own.”

Lucas was stunned when he learned the story of GLORY ROAD and was moved by Haskins' role in it. "I don't think a lot of people realize that basketball was so segregated until this point,” says the actor. "There were basically all-black leagues and all-white leagues. If it was an integrated team, then the couple of black players sat on the bench most of the time. In this atmosphere, Texas Western beating Kentucky was more than just a game—it was a turning point in society and an exciting moment in history most people know very little about.”

He continues, "The cool thing about Haskins is that he was basically color-blind. He never understood why white players couldn't play against black players and vice versa. It made no sense to him. He just wanted to find the best players he could recruit—no matter who they were or where they were from, as long as they had that potential. It was as simple as that to him.”

Lucas dove headlong into Haskins' life and times, researching every possible aspect of life in 1960s Texas. His trailer on the set was lined with more than 700 pictures of Haskins, the team as well as general news clippings from the era.

Lucas even gained thirty-five pounds during production to better emulate the famously bear-like body type of Haskins during his coaching days. "Haskins was addicted to basketball, so I knew if I was going to play him successfully, I had to start sharing that philosophy,” the actor says of his approach.

To further get into the role, Lucas began coaching the other cast members during their intensive basketball practices, running drills on the court with no mercy just as Haskins once did. He knew he had to assert his authority over the team even before the cameras started rolling—even if it meant temporarily getting tough with his fellow actors.

But the softer side of Haskins comes out in his home life with his children and his wife, Mary, who always believed in him and spurred him towards the greatness he achieved. To play Mary, the filmmakers chose Emily Deschanel, the star of Fox's new series "Bones” and whose film credits include "Cold Mountain” and "Spider-Man 2.”

Says Deschanel, "Mary and Don had such a unique relationship, and to this day you can still see the softness and warmth between them. Throughout the film you can see Don being the disciplinarian coach that he was, but he wasn't that tough when he came home. I think every person needs someone in their life to keep them humble and grounded. That is what Mary did for Don.”

Ultimately, Lucas says that Haskins has become the most complex and interesting character of his screen career. "I loved playing

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