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About The Production
Oliver Stone. Football. Not necessarily the first combination that comes to mind in a movie word-association game. But in his work, Stone has always followed his passions, and football is one of them. "Oliver truly loves football, and also loves athletes," says legendary Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle, a friend of the filmmaker and one of the legends who volunteered to be a part of Stone's film. Joining in for the ride would be such greats as Jim Brown, Johnny Unitas, Dick Butkus, Bob St. Clair, Warren Moon, Terrell Owens, Ricky Watters, and Lawrence Taylor.

Stone recalls, "I've had a history of jumping around to different subject matters: war in ‘Salvador' and ‘Platoon,' economics in ‘Wall Street,' music in ‘The Doors,' history and politics in ‘JFK' and ‘Nixon,' Buddhism in ‘Heaven and Earth.' It's a paid education; I never come out where I came in."

The origins of Stone's fascination with the world of football can be traced back to when the filmmaker was growing up as an only child in New York City. "From about 9 on I collected football cards and ran my own football league in private," recalls the director. "I had stacks of notebooks with statistics on the runners, yards, passes, everything. Playing with these great old football cards and dice and a sort of invented ESP, this game would seduce me for hours at a time."

It took four decades for Stone to finally convert his boyhood passion into what he once referred to as "an homage to Robert Aldrich," referring to the late director of such two-fisted classics as "The Dirty Dozen" and "The Longest Yard," the latter a highly enjoyable action-cum-football movie of the early 1970s.

Stone's and producer Dan Halsted's intentions to make a movie about pro football began to take shape at Turner Pictures four years ago, when Stone developed a script called "Monday Night" written by Jamie Williams, a former tight end for the San Francisco 49ers, and Richard Weiner, a sports journalist and co-writer (with Joe Montana) of Joe Montana's Art and Magic of Quarterbacking.

Stone separately acquired the spec script "On Any Given Sunday," by Chicago playwright John Logan. The two stories had remarkable similarities and, when Turner Pictures folded into Warner Bros. in 1996, Stone amalgamated another, third, series of scripts developed by Richard Donner and Lauren Shuler Donner at Warner's over several years, under the tile "Playing Hurt," which had also been in development for some time. From all these scripts, Stone merged what he felt were the most interesting components of all three stories into a final shooting script that reflected his socio-political perspective.

Jamie Williams, a former pro player with the San Francisco 49ers, who portrays a tight end in the film, notes that "Baseball is what America aspires to be. You know, mom, apple pie, hot dogs, Sundays with the kids. Football is what this country is. We are a warring nation. We define ourselves through our strategy in violence. We have tactically and strategically put ourselves in the a power position, which is what football is all about."

Several of the film's other participants had their own interpretations of what the film touches on in its sweeping story. "It's about life, basically," notes Jamie Foxx, whom Stone cast in the central role of Willie Beamen. "Football just happens to be where we're playing it. Within life everybody has to struggle. Everybody is on top sometimes and then, the next thing you know, they're on the bottom."

Says James Woods, whose history with Oliver Stone ranges over five movies, "I think that football is not as big a part of it as you'd expect. I think it's really more about honor and certain moral issues involving the right th

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