Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Making of Hoosiers by Gayle L. Johnson

Jay Burleson's Film Appreciation article for Hoosiers caught the attention of fellow fan Gayle L. Johnson, who contacted Life Between Frames to let us know about the book she has written on the film. 

The movie Hoosiers is often called one of the best sports films ever. It’s just as popular now as it was upon its release 26 years ago. I was in high school when the movie was filmed in many locations throughout Indiana in 1985. All during that year I read articles in the Indianapolis Star about the movie’s progress. (Before, during, and after its filming, Hoosiers received excellent coverage in the Star and in many other newspapers in central Indiana.) It was pretty exciting that a major motion picture, with topline stars such as Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper, and regular Hoosier boys portraying the team members, was being filmed here. And it was so interesting to read about everything that went into the making of a movie. I wished I could have participated as an extra. I especially would have liked to attend the filming of the state-finals game, but unfortunately I lived too far away.

Fast-forward to 2008. I decided to put to good use all those bits of trivia I remembered about the filming and write a book called The Making of Hoosiers. I did research by finding old newspaper articles, visiting many of the shooting locations, and interviewing quite a few people who participated in the filming. Literally thousands of people all over the state were involved in the production, if you count the cast, crew, and all the extras at the games. I worked on my book for almost two years. It was published in 2010. It’s available on Amazon and also can be ordered from bookstores.

The Making of Hoosiers covers the complete story of the movie’s production, including the development of the plot, writing/rewriting, casting, location selection, filming, editing, release, and critical reception. I cover the points of view of the main and supporting actors, director, screenwriter, and extras. I also include lots of behind-the-scenes details that most people haven’t heard before.

I think it’s great that Hoosiers has enjoyed such tremendous success all these years. This movie certainly means a lot to us here in Indiana. It’s personal for us because the people, the towns, and the basketball all seem so familiar and genuine. From the time I first heard about Hoosiers in early 1985, I felt that this movie would turn out to be something special. I hope and believe that everyone who likes this movie will enjoy the story of its creation as well.

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