BSU: The Movie? Talks are in the works

Rights to Fiesta Bowl story could fetch as much as $750,000

Idaho StatesmanFebruary 19, 2007 

It looks like we're going to find out whether Hollywood can write a better script than the Boise State Broncos penned with their play.

Boise State could reach a deal to sell movie rights to the story of its 2006 season and dramatic Fiesta Bowl victory in the next few weeks, said Frank Zang, BSU's director of communications and marketing.

University officials have been told that the rights could be worth between $250,000 and $750,000, Zang said.

BSU may sell rights to a documentary and a movie, using the documentary as a springboard for the movie script.

Five producers — from New York, Hollywood and Idaho — have contacted BSU, Zang said. He would not give specifics, but Idaho native and film director Michael Hoffman's name has been mentioned frequently around town.

"These producers have described it as a David and Goliath-like story," Zang said. "They say it has the makings of a great feature film in the vein of classics like ‘Hoosiers,' ‘Rudy' or ‘Miracle.' They have been inspired by a story that transcends football. It's about creativity, courage, risk-taking and even romance."

The Broncos captured the nation's attention by beating Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl to complete a 13-0 season. The Broncos won by tying the game with a hook-and-lateral with 7 seconds left and scoring the winning points in overtime on a halfback pass and Statue of Liberty two-point conversion.

To top off the too-crazy-to-make-up finish, tailback Ian Johnson proposed to his cheerleader girlfriend on national TV after scoring the game-winning two-point conversion.

Boise State coach Chris Petersen knows the movie talk could distract his team. His preference: Do what can be done now, then wait on the rest.Many key figures in the Fiesta Bowl have finished their college careers. However, Johnson and the rest of the star-studded sophomore class can play for two more seasons.

"If it's good for the university, good for the city of Boise, then I'm all about it," Petersen said. "It's hard because this staff and the team are moving on to next season. We've already got our sights set."

The production company that gets the movie rights, Zang said, will get cooperation from the school — access to players and coaches, use of campus locations, use of copyrighted video and use of licensed names, slogans and images.

The producer also will get the university's endorsement, giving the movie authenticity.

"The university wants to play an active role in this project," Zang said.

How much that requires from the players and coaches is a hot topic with Petersen.

"We're trying to minimize our part of it," he said. "As long as they can really minimize our current players' part, then I'm good."

Marshall recently went through a similar process with the making of the movie "We Are Marshall," the tale of the football program's rebirth after an airplane crash killed 75 people in 1970, including coaches, players and fans.

The Warner Bros. movie was filmed last spring and released in December. Producers spent about three weeks filming on location in West Virginia. Students, residents and former athletes were used in the movie.

One stipulation in the contract was that the university received an advertisement on the "We Are Marshall" DVD.

"The whole process created tremendous excitement," Marshall sports information director Randy Burnside said. "It's going to be a great recruiting tool for our university."

To offer story ideas or comments, contact reporter Chadd Cripe at ccripe@idahostatesman.com or 377-6398.

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