The Blind Side may have received a Best Picture nomination and won Sandra Bullock a Best Actress Oscar, but it is having a bit of a different effect on the man whose story inspired the film in the first place. Based on the Michael Lewis book of the same name, telling the story of Michael Oher, now playing left tackle for the Carolina Panthers, says the movie has taken away from what he does as a player.
“I’m not trying to prove anything,” Oher told ESPN. “People look at me, and they take things away from me because of a movie. They don’t really see the skills and the kind of player I am. That’s why I get downgraded so much, because of something off the field.”
It’s interesting to hear these comments now and hear Oher say them in relation to the movie and not Lewis’ best-selling book. It says a lot, in fact, about these “based on a true story” movies compared to their hardback counterparts. Not only is the book an adaptation of Oher’s life as interpreted through the eyes of the author, but the book adds more layers to that including writer/director John Lee Hancock‘s adaptation of the book, the actors’ adaptation of the material and, in the end, the audience’s interpretation of what’s on the screen. By the time we get that far down the rabbit hole how much does the film actually represent the man that inspired the story?
Oher has spoken out against the film in the past, most notably when he was still playing for the Baltimore Ravens in 2012, the year they won the Super Bowl, saying, “I’m tired of the movie. I’m here to play football,” but it seems now that he’s even more removed from the story, playing for a new team (his second since being released by the Ravens in 2013), he’s hoping people will forget the movie completely and begin judging him on his talent.
“This stuff, calling me a bust, people saying if I can play or not … that has nothing to do with football,” Oher added. “It’s something else off the field. That’s why I don’t like that movie.”
The questioning of Oher’s talent surfaced when he was questioned about a training camp scuffle with Panthers’ defensive end Kony Ealy, which goes to show just how much The Blind Side may really be on his mind whenever any kind of media scrutiny falls on his shoulders.
Ironically enough, or perhaps not so, Quinton Aaron, who starred as Oher in the film, hasn’t enjoyed the same kind of attention from Hollywood since the film’s release. A look at IMDb lists plenty of projects, but, other than last year’s box office bust Left Behind, I don’t recognize a single one of them.