BPS 184: Being Blindsided, Oscar and Blockbuster Directing with John Lee Hancock

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I have an epic conversation in store for you all today. Our guest is an Oscar-nominated screenwriter, filmmaker, John Lee Hancock. While working as a lawyer by day back in 1986, John moonlighted as a screenwriter, writing script after script. His spec script A Perfect World caught the eye of Steven Spielberg and eventually was directed by Clint Eastwood.
After that success, he went on to direct the crowd-pleasing The Rookie.
A true story about a coach who discovers that it's never too late for dreams to come true. Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) never made it out of the minor leagues before a shoulder injury ended his pitching career twelve years ago. Now a married-with-children high-school chemistry teacher and baseball coach in Texas, Jim's team makes a deal with him: if they win the district championship, Jim will try out with a major-league organization.
After the box-office success of The Rookie, John tackled the epic story of The Alamo.
A semi-historical account of the standoff at an abandoned mission during the Texas fight for independence. The Texans, led by Colonel Travis, managed to temporarily hold off the Mexican army of Santa Anna. The Texans were outnumbered 183 to 2000 and eventually succumbed. After the fall of the Alamo, General Sam Houston led another group of Texans against Santa Ana's army in San Jacinto where they defeated the Mexican army, which eventually led to an independent Texas.
Hancock’s famous five-year hiatus comeback film, The Blind Side, an adaptation of Micheal Lewis’s 2006 book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game yield and performed outstandingly. The film received countless major awards nominations including an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture and a win for Best Actress for Sandra Bullock.
The Blind Side is the story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All-American football player and first-round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family.
The Blind Side went on to make $309.2 million internationally on a $29 million budget. Not too bad.
Just this year, Hancock released his latest HBO Max neo-noir crime thriller, The Littel Things, starring Academy Award winners and heavyweights Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto.
Kern County Deputy Sheriff Joe Deacon is sent to Los Angeles for what should have been a quick evidence-gathering assignment. Instead, he becomes embroiled in the search for a serial killer who is terrorizing the city.
John also tackled bring the legendary Walt Disney to the big screen in Saving Mr. Banks starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.
Author P.L. Travers travels from London to Hollywood as Walt Disney adapts her novel Mary Poppins for the big screen.
The Highwaymen bring John together Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson to the tale that follows the untold true story of the legendary lawmen who brought down Bonnie and Clyde. When the full force of the FBI and the latest forensic technology aren’t enough to capture the nation’s most notorious criminals, two former Texas Rangers must rely on their gut instincts and old-school skills to get the job done.
I had a ball talking with John about filmmaking, how he almost broke Steven Spielberg's Rosebud prop from Citizen Kane when they first met, and so much more. He really goes into detail about his creative process, how he was able to navigate Hollywood, how to deal with the highs and lows of the business and so much more.
Enjoy my conversation with John Lee Hancock.

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