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Freddie Steinmark Movie “My All American” Starts Filming This Month in Austin

Steinmark,-Fred_Side_70CB

You thought no football movie could make you cry like Rudy did. That’s about to change.

My All American, the inspiring football drama centered around UT’s 1969 national championship-winning team and two of its heroes, coach Darrell K Royal and defensive back Freddie Steinmark, is set to start filming this month in Austin.

Aaron Eckhart will star as Royal, the hallowed figure who brought three national championships to Texas, and Finn Wittrock will portray defensive back Steinmark, an undersized, scrappy player whose career was cut short when a routine visit to the hospital for a bone bruise—after the final game of that championship season—revealed a cancerous tumor, costing him his leg and soon after, his life. Angelo Pizzo, screenwriter of two of the most beloved sports films of all time, Hoosiers and Rudy, will make his directorial debut in the movie about the two iconic Longhorns figures. royal_darrell_steinmark_freddie_002

The story has been in development for a few years, but Bud Brigham,BS ’83, Life Member, an oil and gas man from Austin and a fourth-generation Longhorn, is responsible for financing the film and helping it see the light of day. After selling the company he founded in 2011, Brigham Exploration, he was looking to create a legacy beyond the industry in which he had spent most of his adult life.

“It was almost like divine intervention,” Brigham says. “I thought, ‘What else can I do that’s meaningful? How can we create a legacy that will live long after we’re gone?'”

He says that Pizzo’s films and other inspiring sports dramas helped him see the light.

“I still love to watch Brian’s Song, Hoosiers, and Rudy, even though they were created a generation or more ago,” Brigham says. “That’s when I decided to get involved. Movies are wonderful legacies.”

Royal’s legacy is one that Texas fans know well, and while Steinmark is a figure in Longhorn lore, explored in his memoir, I Play to Win and Jim Dent’s Courage Beyond the Game, he is rarely mentioned in the same breath as Brian Piccolo or Rudy Ruettiger. Brigham believes that with this film, Steinmark will become as compelling national figure in his own right.

Furthermore, Brigham says, Steinmark’s story won’t require the wide-swath of fictionalization that is often seen in sports movies.

“This movie will be a true story; we don’t have to create characters or make anything up,” he says. “There’s so much texture; we can be truly non-fictional.”

Sticklers for historical accuracy—and aren’t we all as Longhorn fans?—will be pleased with the adaptation. Pizzo has made sure that everything, from the story of Steinmark and Royal’s close relationship down to the remarkable likenesses of the actors portraying the player and coach.

“We are working really hard to make this as accurate as possible so diehards will look at and say, ‘Those are not only great actors, but they look pretty close to them,'” Brigham says. “They’re not just nameplate guys to draw an audience.”

Longhorns fans will also notice some familiar faces in the football sequences: Jordan Shipley and Case McCoy will portray players from the ’69 season. Case’s big brother Colt will act as the football consultant on the film. And who knows? Maybe Colt will make Horns fans happy by donning the burnt-orange jersey and chucking a couple spirals one last time.

Images courtesy of UT Athletics.

 

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