Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Coming to a theater near you? Actor makes film about Ryan Leaf
ESPN.com news services
While Chargers fans might want to forget Ryan Leaf, his story is now the subject of a feature film.
We all have times in our lives we'd like to forget. But for San Diego Chargers fans who show up at the San Diego Library on Wednesday night, the Ryan Leaf era can be relived on the big screen -- for free.
"Leaf," an 82-minute film about the former Chargers quarterback -- a "can't-miss" prospect whose short NFL career turned into a disaster -- will be shown at a free screening on Wednesday night at the San Diego Library.
"I insisted it be free for all the Chargers fans because it's their story," writer and director Tim Carr said, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I was like, 'Chargers fans have been through enough -- let them have this.'"
Carr, who plays Leaf in the film, appeared in "Rocky Balboa" and has written and directed two other films. He said he was interested in making a sports movie in the style of Woody Allen's "Husbands and Wives" -- a documentary within a movie -- but "didn't want to do a 'Rudy'-type movie," according to the report.
"I put myself in the San Diego fans' spot so many times because I'm a huge sports fan and I love my team like San Diego loves their team," said Carr, a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan, according to the report. "I think when they see it, they might get on me for maybe taking it easy on him, although I assure you I didn't -- we throw everything in -- but the way we kind of left it was so people can kind of make their mind up: Maybe he redeemed himself; maybe he moved beyond this.
"For me, it is [redemptive]," Carr said, according to the report. "Here's a guy who kind of tried to make it right, but just could never get it right. But I want to leave it up to the fans."
However, Carr won't be at the screening, the newspaper reported. He'll be busy re-editing the ending to incorporate Leaf's resignation last month from his job as an assistant coach at West Texas A&M. "That kills my redemption ending," he said.
Last month, ESPN's Joe Schad reported that according to a person briefed on the situation, Leaf acknowledged he had asked a West Texas A&M player for a pill to help him deal with lingering pain from an injury Leaf had sustained during his NFL playing days.
Carr said what drew him to Leaf's story was the fact he was born just 10 days after Leaf in 1976, the newspaper reported.
"So I started to think, what would I do if I was in that situation?" Carr said, according to the report. "When he came out [for the NFL draft] he was 22, and when I was 22 I was a knucklehead, big time. So you've got to think, if I was a knucklehead and I had the keys to the kingdom, what would I do?
"Looking back, now that I'm 32, I can say, 'Well, I would have done this and this and this.' But that's a 32-year-old man talking about what I would do 10 years ago. You start to think about that and that's sort of what got me in that direction," Carr said, according to the report. "I was inspired [to] maybe tell that story like 'Husbands and Wives' but through the eyes and ears of fans and writers and players."
Leaf does not appear in the film. Carr said he had a couple of phone conversations with Leaf about the movie and was hoping he would agree to a cameo appearance, but explained that their talks "got progressively less cordial," according to the report.