FORT WORTH, Texas - There is no obvious hook or timely tie-in to the following other than Angelo Pizzo is in Fort Worth currently shooting the new movie "My All American"; Pizzo made "Hoosiers", and he has story after story about one of the most popular sports movies ever made.
Pizzo, who is scheduled to be featured in Sports Illustrated's annual summer issue "Where Are They Now", produced and wrote "Hoosiers", which was directed by, David Anspaugh, his roomate at Indiana University. Pretty much every word Pizzo wrote made it to the screen. He also had a few breaks.
One of the more famous scenes in that movie is when Dennis Hopper's character, Shooter, takes over coaching the game from Norman Dale (Gene Hackman), who deliberately gets ejected so Shooter can coach, and build his self esteem.
"With Dennis, we really didn't know what we were getting because he had been out of the business for 10 years," Pizzo told me. "He walked in for his interview and with this crazy-half way looked at (Anspaugh) and said, 'I know this guy.' We knew he was our guy."
Pizzo then went into this story:
"Dennis would come up with some crazy stuff, and he would always apologize. He wasn't trying to be difficult. There was one scene, and I forgot the exact line, when he gets his (stuff) together, he kneels down in front of the team, and I think my line that I wrote was really boring. Something like, 'Keep your eyes on the ball' or some coach speak.
"And Dennis kneels down and I could see he could not remember his line, and he says, 'Don't get caught watching the paint dry.' That totally came out of thin air. If you look, the players kinda laugh at the line. After we stopped shooting, he came over and said, 'Oh, I'm really sorry.' I said, 'What does that even mean?" He said, 'My dad used to say it. I don't know what it means.' But we used it. That's part of the luck you need. I don't take credit for that. I wrote, 'Run the picket fence at 'em.'"
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