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Filming Begins on New Jim Caviezel Movie, When The Game Stands Tall

Rogers & Cowan - New Orleans, Louisiana (April 22, 2013) – Principal photography begins today in New Orleans on the inspirational high school football movie When The Game Stands Tall about a visionary coach who led a struggling football team to unparalleled national record-breaking success by teaching them to stand for something greater than winning. Produced by Mandalay for Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) and its AFFIRM Films division, When The Game Stands Tall is slated for a fall 2014 release.

Starring Jim Caviezel, Laura Dern, Michael Chiklis and Alexander Ludwig, the Thomas Carter-helmed screen adaptation of Neil Hayes' best-selling book of the same name, When The Game Stands Tall, which tells the true story of legendary De La Salle High School football Coach Bob Ladouceur (Caviezel) and his assistant coach Terry Eidson (Chiklis), who took the Concord, California Spartans prep team from obscurity to a 151-game winning streak from 1992 to 2003 that shattered all records for consecutive victories in any American sport. Known as "Coach Lad", Ladouceur had little experience coaching football when he was hired at De La Salle, but through his unyielding focus on character-building, faith, responsibility and commitment, created one of the country’s greatest football dynasties. Dern will portray Ladouceur’s strong and supportive wife, Bev, and Ludwig will play the Spartans' standout running back, Chris Ryan, as he chases the state scoring record.

David Zelon, whose credits include Soul Surfer, Never Back Down and Into the Blue serves as Producer for Mandalay. DGA ® and Emmy Award®-winner Thomas Carter directs from Scott Marshall Smith's screenplay, which is based on Hayes' book, When the Game Stands Tall: The Story of the De La Salle Spartans and Football's Greatest Winning Streak. Carter, who won an Emmy® as executive producer of HBO's boxing movie, Don King: Only in America, also directed and executive produced the film Coach Carter, starring Sam Jackson as another resolute prep coach determined to teach his players that loyalty, belief and conviction are any game’s greatest assets. Alan Graf, renowned for his work on Friday Night Lights, Gridiron Gang, Any Given Sunday, The Replacements and Necessary Roughness, is the film's second unit director, stunt coordinator and football coordinator. Peter Nelson and Rich Peluso will oversee the film for SPWA and AFFIRM Films.

Inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame and widely considered the greatest prep football coach of all time, Ladouceur's spectacular achievements during his 34 years with the De La Salle Spartans include a historic 12-year, 151-game run of consecutive wins, 20 undefeated seasons, seven national titles, five CIF Bowl championships, 17 state championships and 28 CIF North Coast titles. When Ladouceur retired in January 2013, he was the all-time winningest coach in California having amassed one of the highest-winning percentage of any coach (.934 percent) with his 399-25-3 record.

"On the surface, it appears that these players just won a lot of football games, but what makes this story so special is that this is a coach who placed little value on winning, instead focusing his players on giving a ‘perfect effort’ in life," said producer David Zelon. "Underneath it is a resounding testimonial about how much more kids can achieve when they are challenged with responsibility and commitment."

Steve Bersch, President, SPWA, added: ""The story of When The Game Stands Tall resonates far beyond football or sports in the way all great sports films do. At its core, this is a timeless and universal story about character, hard work and love. Coach Lad’s inspirational and unyielding focus on building integrity, discipline, faith and commitment above all else is his foundation for excelling in coaching and life, and is what gives this story its unique power and magic."

Director Thomas Carter added: "Bob Ladouceur and his commitment to excellence and perfect effort are the reasons why I want to make movies. This is a story that goes way beyond a 151-game winning streak. The De La Salle story is an almost unbelievable inspiration to anyone who really knows it."

Known to audiences around the world for his performances in The Thin Red Line, The Count of Monte Cristo and the record-shattering film, The Passion of the Christ, Frequency and Deja Vu actor Jim Caviezel recently completed the action thriller Escape Plan, opposite Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegge, and Savannah with Chiwetel Ejiofor. He currently stars as John Reese in the CBS television series, Person of Interest.

Three-time Golden Globe®-winner (Enlightened, Recount, Afterburn) Laura Dern was last seen as Amy Jellicoe in the HBO series Enlightened and as Helen Sullivan in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master. Currently, she is onscreen as Dr. Ellie Sattler in the 20th anniversary 3-D release of Steven Spielberg’s classic, Jurassic Park.

Emmy and Golden Globe®-winner (The Shield) Michael Chiklis currently stars in the series Vegas, opposite Dennis Quaid and as Marvel Comic’s Ben Grimm in the blockbuster Fantastic Four film series. He will be seen next in the crime thriller Pawn.

Alexander Ludwig’s portrayal of Cato in The Hunger Games rocketed the young actor to international stardom. Also known for his work in the hit films Race to Witch Mountain and The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising, Ludwig has three films coming out soon: Final Girl, Grown Ups 2 and Lone Survivor.

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