‘Brian Banks’: Director Tom Shadyac & Banks Himself on His Powerful True Story

     August 9, 2019


In 2007, veteran comedy director Tom Shadyac suffered a post-concussion syndrome due to an unfortunate biking accident in Virginia. During his recovery, he took a long hiatus from directing and went on a personal journey of discovery that culminated in his well received 2011 documentary I Am. Brian Banks marks Shadyac’s first time back behind the camera to direct a feature film since his days of directing films like The Nutty Professor and Bruce Almighty. The inspirational sports drama tells the story of Brian Banks, a high school football superstar. who fights to clear his name and overturn his wrongful conviction for kidnapping and rape.


Image via Bleecker Street

Before the film’s release, I sat down with Tom Shadyac and the real life Brian Banks to discuss what elements of the Brian Banks story brought Shadyac back out of the directing wilderness to make the film. Banks discusses with me what his experiences were like onset revisiting his life story again and why he believes it was a “much needed project”. Shadyac also talks about the kind of films he’s interested in making now and the message he wants to send with them. Check out what they had to say in the player above, and below is exactly what we talked about. Brian Banks stars Aldis Hodge, Greg KinnearSherri Shepherd, Melanie Liburd, Tiffany Dupont, Xosha Roquemore, and Dorian Missick.

Tom Shadyac and Brian Banks:

  • What was it about Brian Banks’ story that resonated with Tom Shadyac and mirrored his own journey of resurrection.

Image via Bleecker Street

  • How Tom Shadyac’s dramatic scenes in his previous comedies gave him the confidence that he could direct a full drama.
  • What Brian Banks felt watching his story being made and what people should take away from the film and put into action in their own lives.

Here is the official synopsis for Brian Banks:

The inspirational true story of Brian Banks, an all-American high school football star who finds his life upended when he’s wrongly convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. Despite the lack of evidence, Banks gets railroaded through a broken justice system and sentenced to a decade of prison and probation. Years later, with the support of Justin Brooks and the California Innocence Project, Banks fights to reclaim his life and fulfill his dreams of playing in the NFL.

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