action in court was a huge burden, but something I had to do. I was about to have my first child and I was going through several years of being in a rough place. I was facing foreclosure notices and I felt like I was at the bottom of the ocean. It was like a bulldozer was sitting right on top of me. The only way I could dig through it was God bringing me to my knees. Reading this script was somewhat chilling because it was a man who was going through a parillus situation, different circumstances, but I knew how he felt. My faith in God has got me through it.
VYPE: The life lesson in the movie can be applied to everyday life as well. What’s the connection for people who watch the movie and see it as a metaphor for their own lives?
Presley: Life is going to throw us curve balls. There are times in life when it’s going to run smooth and like in the movie life can get a heck of a lot harder than football. How we live our daily lives and how we confront adversity is really the key. During that time in my life I wasn’t walking with God. It’s easy to get into that dark place when God is not part of your life. It goes back to a big lesson I learned in football at Jenks. Coach Ron Lancaster preached this; the sign of a true champion is not about getting knocked down it’s about getting back up. That’s true. That’s my motto in life.
VYPE: There’s a scene in the movie when you’re playing in the championship game a second time and coach Hand played by Kurt Russell is giving you the play and you’re surprised when he tells you to throw the ball. You start getting glimpses of a different future if you do the opposite of what you did the first time. But at the moment of truth you have to make a decision.
Presley: It’s a really powerful scene in the movie. There’s nothing I love more than sports. Playing that scene and shooting that scene, I thought to myself; what if I had a chance to go back? What if I was 6-foot-4 and had gone to play big time college football and if I had a chance to change that would I? The answer is no. You can’t put a value or price tag on my wife and my two kids. To me that moment is choosing your life as it chose you. To me it sums up the movie, making the choice to choose his wife and family.
VYPE: Let’s talk about some of your co-stars. Kurt Russell plays Coach Hand, Christine Lahti plays your mother and Melanie Lynskey plays Macy your wife. Three accomplished actors to work with, how fun was it to have them to work with?
Presley: It was pretty awesome. Kurt Russell is a legend. I grew up watching Kurt and some of my favorite movies are
Kurt Russell movies like Tombstone and Backdraft. Kurt was such a pro. He came in and really elevated the project and was a joy to be around. He and I really hit it off. You know he ended his baseball career with an injury and it was one thing that really drew him to the project. Christine Lahti is a wonderful veteran actress and to get her to play my mom was really powerful. Everyone did this movie because they loved the story and everyone loved their characters. Mark Ellis was our Sports
Brian Presley stars in Anchor Bay Films’ Touchback. Photo by Wallace “Mike” Crouch, Property of Anchor Bay Films
Coordinator. He did Friday Night Lights, We Are
Marshall, Miracle, The Rookie and when he contacted us and said he didn’t care what he had to do, he read the story and he wanted to be a part of this he really brought something extra to the set. Mark was the one who got 600 football players to come try out. It was awesome to have a lot of great people signed on to this movie.
VYPE: I know you guys are doing something with Farm Aid. What’s that relationship and what are you guys doing for them?
Presley: We’re giving back some of the proceeds of the movie to Farm Aid, which is actively helping the future of the farming community. And we’re giving back to several different ministries that have put Him back in my life. We hope it encourages people to look around in their communities and help people out who are in need. There’s nothing more that’s like an act of God than helping people that are in need. You can change someone’s life.
VYPE: I have to mention Barry Sanders. How cool was it to have Barry as part of this project?
Presley: Barry was great. It was a last minute deal that we were able to get him. We were trying to figure out ways to write him more lines during the game, but it was awesome to get him to come. Being from Oklahoma I got so seeing him play at Oklahoma State. It was great to have that chance to meet and work with him.
VYPE: We’ve had the chance to cover his son, Barry J. Sanders for the last few years. Do you ever get a chance to hear what’s going on with athletes back home?
Presley: Yeah, he’s headed out to California to play for Stanford. Every Friday night I watch Fox Sports Southwest and try to catch some Oklahoma and Texas high school football. One of their Games of the Week they had him highlighted. He’s very talented.
VYPE: Jump on iHeartradio on Friday nights and catch Don King on am1430 The Buzz doing the Jenks games!
Presley: Yeah I’ll check that out. You know the guy doing the radio broadcasting in Touchback is Bill Simonson who called my high school football games at Jenks my senior year. Captain Huge. He said it was like going back in time. It was fun reconnecting with him as well.
VYPE: What were your thoughts after watching Touchback for the first time?
Presley: We first watched the first cut without sound and music and we all looked at each other and said, “we’ve got something special here.” It’s been interesting and frustrating when you’re dealing with the politics of Hollywood. We tested the movie in Orange County, Dallas Texas and
several other places and it tested as high as movies like The Rookie and Blindside. So we’re proud of the movie and we’re expecting it to do very well.
VYPE: Do you ever get back to Oklahoma? Presley: We had the premiere in Dallas on April 3rd
, so I can’t get this
close to Grandma and Grandpa without them luring us to Oklahoma. But it’s always good to get back and see family. My wife’s family is from Seattle so we bounce back and forth from Seattle to Oklahoma. But I love getting back to Oklahoma.
VYPE: Well if you’re ever in town during football season let us know we’ll throw you on air during a Jenks game.
Presley: Absolutely. We get back couple times a year so I’d love to.
ANCHOR BAY FiLMS Presents TOuCHBACK, A FREEDOM FiLMS Production in Association with PALO VERDE, HANNiBAL CLASSiCS, and SAKONNET CAPiTAL PARTNERS. A Film by DON HANDFiELD
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