ABOVE PHOTO: Arian Foster and Terry Crews
By Jai Tiggett
shadow and act.com
Draft Day stars Kevin Costner as Sonny Weaver Jr., general manager of the Cleveland Browns, who is swept into a day of intense negotiations with team staff, players and even family on the day of the NFL draft.
The cast, including Costner, Terry Crews, Jennifer Garner and Arian Foster gathered at a recent press event to talk about the film in anticipation of its release on April 11.
I also had a chance to speak with Draft Day’s Chadwick Boseman about the film and his career.
Crews and Foster, who play father and son in the film, had both been athletes drafted out of college and shared their real-life draft stories:
TERRY CREWS: I was drafted in the 11th round back in 1991. I thought I was going to go way higher, I had a party, but the first day everybody came and everybody left. The day was over and I didn’t get drafted. I thought it was over and I literally collapsed in a heap.
Then my sister came in and said the LA Rams are on the phone. They said you’ve just been drafted in the 11th round. I was back happy and confident again and I said now that they’ve let me in, I am going to blow this thing up
ARIAN FOSTER: Mine was very similar actually. We had a little get together. And same thing, round after round went, the clock kept kicking and I just tried to keep my mind off it. I’m of the new school where there’s only two days of the draft, so the first day went by and I didn’t get drafted.
Going through that experience and then getting drafted in the movie, it was very surreal for me because you get into that character. All those emotions from that day that I never had, that I wanted to have, came out [in the film] and that’s what made it so special for me and an honor even getting chosen for this role.
Garner, who plays the salary cap manager of the Browns, shared her thoughts about high-ranking women in athletics:
JENNIFER GARNER: What makes women so great in these higher positions on sports teams is that they can keep their emotions in check and their brains can do a lot of things at once. Because if you’re going to be a capologist you’re basically business affairs, you’re thinking of the art of football, what’s your team’s future, you have to have so much going on in your brain at once and let’s face it, we’re just good at that.
On what the cast loves and hates about sports movies:
KEVIN COSTNER: I think if you want to make a good sports movie you’ve got to cut down on the sports. You’ve got to make it about people. Yes, you’ve got this backdrop of the NFL, but people start to see themselves [in the characters].
CREWS: I enjoy sports movies that don’t sugarcoat. One thing that irritates me about sports movies is that they’re like, “the magic of the ball” and “the magic of the stadium.” It ain’t that magical. When you get hit coming across the middle at 25 miles per hour, the magic’s over.
FOSTER: It’s hard for me to watch football movies because I play football. It has to be genuine and authentic. You’ll see some movies and there are guys doing cocaine at halftime, stuff like that. It’s like, come on man, it’s so unrealistic. The movies that actually portray football players how they are, I think that’s what makes them great. It’s a very emotional sport, and guys’ jobs are on the line every day.
The movie shifts across multiple cities, following the action of different team negotiations as well as what’s happening on the draft floor in New York City. On the chaos of filming in public:
CREWS: We were on the street and what’s wild is, you can’t lock a New York street. You can lock any street in LA, but in New York you can’t stop people from walking into the scene. And what we were getting is people yelling in the middle of the scene, so it took a tremendous amount of concentration.
FOSTER: That was my first scene I ever filmed, by the way. So I’m intimidated by this guy [points to Terry], and then everybody’s yelling.
CREWS: But Arian just blew it up. For most football players it’s hard to humble themselves in a new field. You’re at the top of your game, all-pro where you are, and then to come into a new field and start all over again from the beginning, this man totally killed it.
On what to like about the film, whether you’re a sports fan or not:
GARNER: In this movie, even though football is the backdrop, it by no means makes it inaccessible. If you’re up on the current events of what’s happening in the NFL, you’re going to recognize a lot of stuff. There are going to be names dropped and references made that you’ll be happy to have reflected back at you, but if you’re not a football person the relationship and the story are at the center of the movie. It’s a ride that you’re going to take no matter whether you know what draft day means at the beginning of the movie or not.
COSTNER: I felt that Draft Day had a chance to be an American classic if we stuck with it. I don’t know if it’ll be a box office hit, but it could be a classic movie, which by definition means it’ll be shared from generation to generation, and to me that’s the mark of a great movie.
Draft Day comes to theaters on Friday, April 11.