July 31, 2007, - 4:26 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Although I have no problem attacking the criminal, thuggish athletes in pro sports, I’m more interested in the upstanding, positive pro athletes who contribute to America.
One of those is Elton Brand of the NBA’s L.A. Clippers.
As readers of this site know, I’ve heaped the praise–it’s well deserved–on “Rescue Dawn,” the story of real-life Navy pilot Dieter Dengler who heroicly survived and escaped a Viet Cong-allied Laotian POW camp during the Vietnam War.
Elton Brand helped bring that movie to the screen as one of its three producers. His production company, Gibraltar Entertainment, allowed Dengler’s heroic story to be seen by more people. And I applaud that. Thanks to reader James S. who brought Brand’s role to my attention. James writes:
Thanks for the column on Rescue Dawn; I’m looking forward to seeing it. Were you aware that the movie was produced by Elton Brand, the star player for the Los Angeles Clippers, and one of the most respected “good guy” players in the NBA? It was his first foray into movie production (he’s only 28) and he’s said in interviews here in Los Angeles that it was the hardest thing he’s ever done.
Keep up the good work.
Brand speaks proudly of his role in bringing the movie to audiences across America on AOL’s Black Voices:
I saw that documentary, “Little Dieter Needs To Fly” and said, “Hey, this is an amazing story about kinship and friendship and not letting each other down. If I could be a part of that, I would love to.” And then, Christian Bale was attached after “Batman Returns” so I’m looking at that. If I can be a part of this as a movie producer, I want to be a part of it. . . .
I didn’t know much about the movie game at the time. So I said, “Okay, Werner Herzog was friends with Dieter Dengler. He wanted to tell the story in a full-length format. So if I have to put up some money, bring it through my production company [and support it financially], then I would want to do that.” It took on legs of its own. But we were involved in other things like picking the sets where we shot, costume design, and the budgets of course. Everything.
Good for him. Not only is it a valiant first effort, it’s something far better than anything to come out of Hollywood this year.
Now this is the kind of player I’d like to see more of in the NBA.
Tags: America, AOL, Christian Bale, Dieter Dengler, Dieter Needs to Fly, Gibraltar Entertainment, Little Dieter Needs to Fly, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Clippers, movie producer, National Basketball Association, Navy Pilot, NBA, NBA Star By Debbie Schlussel Although I, player, pro sports, Rescue Dawn, Werner Herzog