By Danny R. Johnson and Gina Yarbrough
SAN DIEGO – San Diego Chargers Kicker Nick Novak, San Diego Chargers Strong Safety Brandon Taylor, Inside Linebacker Donald Butler, Coach Andrew Dees, Assistant Offensive Line Coach Ollie Wilson, were on hand to lend support for the exclusive April 3, 2014 advance screening of Summit Entertainment’s film DRAFT DAY, prior to its World Premiere opening in theaters on Friday, April 11.
The DRAFT DAY exclusive VIP screening took place at Edwards Theater Mira Mesa with red carpet interviews with Chargers players.
DRAFT DAY is involving and inspiring in the way a good movie about sports almost always is. The formula is basic and durable, and when you hitch it to a good story, you can hardly fail. The San Diego premiere of Draft Day also resembled a tailgate celebration as sports fans cheered on the Chargers who walked the red carpet.
Donald Butler wasn’t shy about his die-hard love of football and recalling how nerve-wracking it is going through the actual “Draft Day” experience.
“When a player is notified that he is about to be drafted you can’t sleep – everything stops on Draft Day,” he said. “You are nervous sitting around waiting to see which team you’re going to be hooked with, and your entire family back home is going crazy. Your world revolves around Draft Day,” Butler stated.
Kevin Costner, who’s no stranger to sports films (Bull Durham, Field of Dreams), said in his house, his kids are the athletes. “You have look out in the hallway before you walk into it, because balls are flying,” he stated to Hollywood Reporter at the April 7, 2014 Los Angeles official Red Carpet premiere. On the day of the NFL Draft, general manager Sonny Weaver (Costner) has the opportunity to save football in Cleveland when he trades for the number one pick. He must quickly decide what he’s willing to sacrifice in pursuit of perfection as the lines between his personal and professional life become blurred on a life-changing day for a few hundred young men with dreams of playing in the NFL.
Director Ivan Reitman praised Costner, saying, “He’s a leader. He’s like Gary Cooper. He’s the kind of guy that men want to follow, and trust.”
On set, actor Josh Pence (who plays a hopeful athlete waiting to get drafted in the film) threw the football around with Costner. “It was a very surreal moment for me,” he said, “At the time, I was like, ‘I don’t even know if he knows who I am.’”
Draft Day is a fun ride as Weaver takes bold steps to try to score the No. 1 pick. He is aided or harassed along the way by his girlfriend-colleague Ali (Jennifer Garner), head coach (Denis Leary), owner (Frank Langella) and mother (Ellen Burstyn).
The film was written by Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph. To view the DRAFT DAY trailer – click on: http://draftdaythemovie.com/
Danny R. Johnson is San Diego County News’ Entertainment News Editor
Gina Yarbrough is San Diego County News’ Managing Editor/Publisher