Angelo Pizzo, screenwriter of “Hoosiers” and “Rudy” has been tapped to adapt Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins’ highly-acclaimed and rated book “The Real All Americans: The Team That Changed a Game, A People, A Nation.” It is the first film property that has been optioned by Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation Representative, CEO of Oneida Nation Enterprises and trustee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Museum, for his Standing Arrow Productions banner. The company was launched earlier this past February.
“I have been a long-time admirer of Angelo Pizzo’s brilliant and iconic work,” says Halbritter said in a statement. “’Hoosiers’ and ‘Rudy’ melded sports with human drama to inspire millions…and that is our intent with The Real All Americans. Standing Arrow Productions has found the perfect writer to begin our cinematic journey.”
Jenkins’ book chronicles the true-life exploits of the Carlisle Indian School football team, which was the most innovative and successful football program in the United States in the early 20th century, regularly beating better known and financed Ivy League competitors and ruling the college gridiron in 1911 and 1912. Ultimately, in a competition rich with meaning, the Carlisle Indian School football team defeated the United States Military Academy West Point. The team was led by Coach Glenn “Pop” Warner and its best player, Jim Thorpe, won the 1912 Olympic Gold Medal in both the Pentathlon and Decathlon. The book explores the history of the team, the racial and political bigotry faced by the students that still resonate today over a century later, as well as the violent attempt to decimate a culture and the birth of a game that has thrilled Americans for several generations.
According to the New York Times, the Indian school had “one of the most spectacular aggregations of football players, especially in the backfield, ever assembled.”
“I am more than excited to be asked to tackle the Carlisle Indian Industrial School story,” Pizzo added. “I’ve been fascinated by this most compelling and inspiring tale since I read my first biography of Jim Thorpe as a boy. Sally Jenkins’ book, ‘The Real All Americans,’ creates a context and perspective that elevates this unique period of history well beyond just another sports story. I am looking forward to working with Ray Halbritter, whom I’ve admired for his successful efforts to eliminate derogatory sports mascots and team names that negatively affect Native American sensibilities and identity. My goal with this project is two-fold: to create a script that both honors the Native American community while crafting a story of enduring and universal appeal much like Hoosiers and Rudy.”
Pizzo, a graduate of Indiana University and USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, was compelled to write his first-motion picture screenplay, the Gene Hackman-fronted sports drama “Hoosiers” based on his memories of Indiana high school basketball. His good friend from Indiana University, David Anspaugh, directed. In addition to ‘Hoosiers’ and ‘Rudy,’ Pizzo’s scripted films include the 1950s World Cup soccer film The Game of Their Lives (2005) and a based-on-a-true-story college football drama, My All-American (2015), which he also directed. Pizzo is repped by David Greenblatt at Greenlit.
Halbritter will produce and guide the project. The deal was negotiated on behalf of Standing Arrow Productions by Andrew Herwitz, president of The Film Sales Company, who will also executive produce.