Posts Tagged ‘Ron Shelton’

“I think people trying to get into the spotlight are much more interesting than people in the spotlight. That’s why I think Tin Cup is a really well conceived and executed movie, because it’s about a guy who’s trying to get there. And when he gets there, he doesn’t know how to stay there. I think stories about movie stars or great athletes are almost always boring.”
Ron Shelton
Interview with Jon Zelazny

There’s more than one golf scene in Tin Cup (1996) because the movie is about a golf pro. Also thrown into the mix is not only competition on the golf course between Kevin Costner and Don Johnson, but they compete for the affections of Rene Russo.

Directed by Ron Shelton (Bull Durham) from a script by John Norville and  Shelton.

Scott W. Smith

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 “I wrote it quickly (10 weeks), without an outline, and we pretty much shot the first draft.”
Ron Shelton on his Oscar-nominated Bull Durham script

I’m not sure you could put together an outfield (3 players) of screenwriters who once played professional baseball.  In fact, the only player that comes to mind of any produced screenwriter who played pro ball is Ron Shelton. (But there has to be at least two, right?)

Shelton played minor league ball for the Baltimore Orioles and also wrote and directed Bull Durham, which Sports Illustrated back in 2004 ranked as the #1  greatest sports movie of all time (just ahead of Rocky and Raging Bull).

So I hunted around online and found a Q&A from Back to the 80s: Interview with Ron Shelton—here’s just the first question:

Q. What is the story of how a minor league baseball player ends up becoming an esteemed screenwriter and director?

Shelton: I was an English Lit major in college and liked to write a bit, but had no thoughts beyond that. In the minor leagues I used to go to movies everyday on the road because we didn’t have to go to the ballpark until about 4 in the afternoon–and I really fell in love with movies. I also had a college professor who introduced me to the French New Wave, which intrigued me, and Ingmar Bergman was quite popular when I was in college (along with other foreign directors), but mostly I just found my own way. I remember seeing The Wild Bunch when it came out. I was in Little Rock, Arkansas playing against the Travelers, and the movie knocked me out. At that moment I wanted to know more about how to make movies, but I was still playing ball.

Shelton also wrote the screenplay for Cobb on Detroit Tiger great Ty Cobb, and wrote and/or directed the basketball films Blue Chips and White Men Can’t Jump, the boxing movie The Great White Hype, and the golf movie Tin Cup. 

P.S. You may have read hundreds—even thousands of posts on screenwriting—but how many have you read that mentioned baseball and Bergman in the same post?

Related Posts:

Baseball, Screenwriting and Underdogs
One Swedes Major Impact on Cinema (On Bergman)

Scott W. Smith



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