Roundtable Interview with Brian Pressley
Star of “Touchback”
, April 4, 2012
Ron Salfen, “Presbyterian Outlook”
You probably thought the window of opportunity to play a high school
football player was closed.
I did. But Don (Handfield,
writer and director) had such an interesting take on it.
To cover a 20-year time gap with one character playing two different
roles, and not just me, but a whole group of people.
Our makeup artist was Barney Berman, who won an Oscar for Star Trek.
That kind of level of guys came aboard because of the message of the
movie. Sort of like a faith-based
“It’s A Wonderful Life” meets “Friday Night Lights.”
: How did you get back into the mindset of a high school boy?
really didn’t have to, because mentally I was 20 years down the road.
That’s why it was so funny during the skinny dipping scene, showing
up and saying it’s a school night and I’m going to call your parents:
the father, the 40-year-old man coming out.
That’s my favorite moment in the movie.
I think Don did a good job with layering in the comedic aspect.
: And getting in shape?
definitely had to hit the weights harder, and had more aches and pains than I
remembered from playing in high school (as quarterback of a state championship
). I quickly realized that I wasn’t 18 any more.
We had 600 guys try out for the football sequences, and pretty much all
of them ended their career with an injury, as well, so they were glad to strap
on the pads again, even though it was hard work.
: Acting with Kurt Russell?
of the great payoffs of my 14 years in this business.
I wanted to call him Doc Holliday; all these great characters that
he’s played over the years. He was
great about it. I’d ask him, and
he’d tell me all kinds of stories. We
really hit it off. He was a pro
baseball player and played in the minors. His
career ended with an injury, which was one of the things that drew him to the
story. He came in, was on time, knew
his lines. He didn’t have any
assistants. It was just him, and he was
part of the team, and would cut up with the crew.
I can’t say enough good things. It
was truly one of the highlights of my career.
: The message of the movie?
where life is today, and the path we’re on. It’s
kind of easy to get caught up in the rat race and forget what the important
things in life are. I’ve done that.
, you can get consumed with the prestige, wealth, and fame. But what’s
really important to me is my family: my
wife and my kids. I just coached my
kid’s flag football team, which was a dream come true for me.
I’m here and I have my health. Those
are what matter.
: I was afraid that (in the movie) when
you came back as your 18-year-old self you were going creep out Melanie and
Yeah, but my character had to come to the realization that if he changes what
happens on the football field he’s going to be alone, not with the woman he
loves and with his two kids.
: You mention faith-based, but this
movie is not overtly religious.
we wanted to layer in principles of God without saying “God.”
Attitude is everything. Helping
out people in need. Character
integrity. Look at “Touchback” as a
kind of parable. And when the whole
town came out to help pick the 200 acres of soybeans, it’s a miracle.
God works in mysterious ways and can answer prayers.
I’m interested in things inspirational and uplifting.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Interim Pastor,
St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church,