Screenwriter Angelo Pizzo discusses his latest film, “My All American”
By Landry Long | Contributor
A speculative screenplay is written by a screenwriter who only hopes that it might one day be made into a movie. There is no commission. No guarantee. Only dreaming and a gut feeling.
With a limited release in 1986, the film “Hoosiers” went on to receive two Academy Award nominations and has since been regarded by many critics as one of the greatest sports movies of all time. “Hoosiers” was written on spec. The man that took that chance is American screenwriter and film producer, Angelo Pizzo.
After writing “Hoosiers,” Pizzo went on to write films such as “Rudy” and “The Game of Their Lives.” Now for the first time, Pizzo takes on the roles of both writer and director for his new movie, “My All American.”
Set in the late 1960s, “My All American” is the true story of an undersized and un-recruited football player named Freddy Steinmark (played by Finn Wittrock). When one of the assistant coaches for the Texas Longhorns football team comes to Freddy’s high school in Denver to watch one of Freddy’s teammates, he witnesses Freddy having the game of his life. When the recorded footage is brought back to head coach Darrell Royal, played by Aaron Eckhart, Steinmark is offered a scholarship to attend the University of Texas. After a successful season, Freddy’s life changes in a drastic way.
“While in that championship season, (he fights) a catastrophic injury,” Pizzo said. “His leadership, his inspirational qualities, what he did in terms of connecting and helping the team even though he had a tragic diagnosis (are) really the heart and soul of the movie.”
Pizzo is a master of emotion. His movies do more than provide simple entertainment, they describe the human experience.
“I like stories with authentic heroes,” Pizzo said. “I like stories that inspire, that challenge us to think about what we do in our lives vis-à-vis (in relation to) other people, our communities whether they be large or small . . . When I read the book on which this is based, I ended up crying, and I never cry reading books. So I knew that I had a great ending.”
“My All American” arrives in theaters on Nov. 13.