Oliver Stone (R), the director of the motion picture "Any Given Sunday" pinches the ear of Al Pacino (C) who portrays an NFL coach in the film as his costar LL Cool J looks on, upon arriving 16 December 1999 at the Los Angeles premiere of the movie. "Any Given Sunday" is Stone's look at contemporary society through the prism of professional football. AFP Photo Jim RUYMEN/jr Jim RUYMEN/jr (Photo credit should read JIM RUYMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Movies - TV
The NFL Went To War With Oliver Stone Over The Script For Any Given Sunday
Oliver Stone’s 1999 sports drama "Any Given Sunday," tried to answer what happens to modern athletes when they are exposed to around-the-clock sports media coverage. However, the National Football League (NFL) saw Stone's vision of their product and wanted no part of the movie.
Stone's script was the amalgamation of the book "You're Okay, It's Just a Bruise," by a former Oakland Raiders team doctor, and an existing John Logan screenplay based on a struggling coach. The league was transitioning to a corporate structure, and Stone took notice, saying "Hollywood was becoming more and more corporate, and so was football; sports just became a giant and almost ridiculously outsized industry."
Stone said, "The NFL was very nasty. They hated the script. They tried to kill the deal by telling players not to be involved." Fortunately, renegade owners like Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones stepped in to allow Stone to film in Texas Stadium, and former NFL legends Jim Brown and Lawrence Taylor contributed to acting in the controversial movie.
"Any Given Sunday" is adorned with bombastic characters, memorable speeches, wild parties, substance abuse, and disgusting injuries that include lost eyeballs and ruptured discs, but it also addresses deeper social issues, including racism and sexism. The film is as relevant today as it was in 1999, depicting players becoming another cog in the corporate juggernaut known as the NFL.