INTERVIEWS ABOUT REMEMBER THE TITANS
When I moved back East to Alexandria, Virginia, I found this wonderful story and tried mightily to sell it, but I couldn’t. I then instead, I wrote it on spec (speculation), and I still couldn’t sell it, except for one buyer: Jerry Bruckheimer. It was a miracle. It was, biblically, the rejected stone that turned into the cornerstone.
This was the first time I was on the set of my own movie. Seeing how it's done: the sets, the lighting, the costumes, was amazing. Seeing it realized was a fascinating thing to see. Being on the set of a movie is like being part of an army. And the army was there because of something I wrote sitting in a room in Alexandria, Virginia 18 months prior. Pretty cool.
Hal Prince, the legendary theater director/producer, told me that in the life of artist, to be involved in even one classic—just one—means that you won the game. Most artists never achieve that. He told me this before Titans. I’ve had my one. Everything else is gravy. I’m playing with house money.
Success is the sweetest revenge in Hollywood. When Gregory Allen Howard, H-town's only Black historical-drama specialist, wrote the screenplay for Remember the Titans, the major studios initially passed on the project. But when the film (released by Disney) grossed about $116 million, he felt totally vindicated. "I struggled in the beginning," admits Howard about his modest start 14 years ago. "I didn't have any contacts, and I spent a year just trying to get someone to read what I wrote." Now the Alexandria, Virginia, native is pursued for major projects like last year's Ali, which boasted the biggest Christmas Day opening in movie history and earned Will Smith a Best Actor Oscar nod. Says Howard, "I'm trying to be the greatest writer in Hollywood. When I have ten to twenty written, I'll be happy."
When football coaches wanted to rev up their team for a big game, they would close the locker room doors and deliver an inspirational pep talk. But all across America these days, coaches have found another way. They've been taking their teams to see the Denzel Washington - starring Remember the Titans, the rousing story of a newly integrated 1971 high school football team that learns to win by putting its racial differences aside and playing together.