Friday, November 18, 2011

Sean and friends at Rudy screening

All the luminaries from "Rudy" were there—Sean Astin, Jon Favreau (D-Bob), director David Anspaugh and even the original Daniel E. "Rudy" Ruettiger—for the special screening of the movie at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica Thursday evening.

Photo by Sean Astin posted to his Twitter account.
The following is based on a report from Jan-u-wine, who attended the screening.

The movie played to a nearly packed and appreciative audience, and the special guests were given a standing ovation when they took the stage for the Q&A afterwards. There were many good questions asked and good answers shared, and all in all, it was a general love-fest.

David Anspaugh, Jon Favreau, Sean Astin and Rudy Ruettiger. Source
On the topic of the casting of Rudy, the director said Sean had been recommended to him by the script writer, Angelo Pizzo, who had seen a trailer for "Encino Man." (Sean rolled his eyes when this movie was mentioned—it is apparently not one of his favorites!) A lunch meeting was set up between David and Sean, and the director immediately knew he had his Rudy. The studio execs were not so sure, but eventually gave in, and later admitted Sean was the perfect Rudy. The audience cheered wildly in agreement with this sentiment, and Sean appeared very touched by their reaction.

Sean talked about the scene where he had to cry on reading the news that he'd finally been accepted into Notre Dame. He'd come on set that morning and had been instructed not to talk with anyone, so he'd been alone and isolated for a couple of hours. Even so, when it came time to do the scene, he couldn't muster up the tears. Sean said that until then he'd found it hard as an actor and a man to cry. After three takes, David came up to Sean and asked him "What are you so afraid of?" David's question was just what for Sean the actor and Sean the man needed. Why indeed are we afraid of honest tears? It was enough to trigger the tears, and Sean said he cried for at least two hours.

Sean was asked about the scene where Rudy steps onto the football field for the first time. It's a quiet moment, and Rudy hesitates for a moment before stepping reverently onto the field. Was it the director's idea or Sean's? Sean responded by talking about a similar moment in The Fellowship of the Ring, supposedly one of Peter Jackson's favorites, where Sam hesitates before taking the step that will take the farthest away from home he's ever been, moving him into a hugely different world from the one he's known.

David said Sean did a lot of his own stunts, but managed to avoid injury. (In another interview, Sean did mention a small cut he got over his eye from Vince Vaughn's long fingernails. They had to duplicate the cut with makeup later for continuity!) Sean's stunt double had to have knee surgery. The real Rudy also avoided major injuries, quite amazing considering he really was a little guy among the big Notre Dame players!

Sean said that not a day goes by when he isn't stopped and complimented on Rudy, or hears chants of "Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!" He believes it's the movie he'll be most remembered for when he dies.

There was also a discussion of Jerry Goldsmith's beautiful and evocative score. Sean said he was honored to have been a part of one of Goldsmith's projects.

Sean's oldest daughter Ali (Elanor Gamgee in "The Lord of the Rings"), now 15 and a cheerleader, was in attendance, and Sean said they held hands throughout the movie. :-)

Says Jan-u-wine: It's easy to see the Sean that you hear about often: the passionate, caring man, very intelligent, his ideas spilling out so fast that they even (seemingly) take him by surprise.

After the Q&A session, David said they would continue the discussion at a nearby bar on Wilshire Boulevard, what surely must have been a great experience for those who tagged along!

Sean and fan. Source
My gratitude to Jan-u-wine for providing her thoughts on the Q&A. All remarks are to the best of her recollection, and we apologize for any inaccuracies.


  1. Oh wow, I would have loved to be at that! Thank you and Jan for the marvelous write up!!

  2. My great nephew is 10 years old and a sports nut that plays hockey and football. For Christmas this year I am giving him "Miracle" and "Rudy". I just loved Sean's performance in "Rudy". Sean does inspirational so well!

    Thanks for the wonderful write up!!!

  3. Ellen, it did sound like a wonderful event! Jan was so lovely to provide me with her report!

    Praeriedikter, I hope your nephew enjoys the movies!