2012 Summer Movie Guide

Game On

TFK chats with Brandon Routh, star of the lacrosse film Crooked Arrows, now playing in select cities

June 18, 2012
©2012 Kent Eanes/Peck Entertainment

Brandon Routh stars as Joe Logan, a young businessman who is tasked with helping his reservation's struggling lacrosse team in the new film "Crooked Arrows." Here, Joe coaches Silverfoot, played by real-life lacrosse player Tyler Hill.

The game has been around for centuries and is still played in schools across the country today. But how much do you know about the history of lacrosse? Crooked Arrows, a new film starring Superman Returns’ Brandon Routh, puts the popular sport—and its Native American beginnings—in the spotlight.

Routh stars as Joe Logan, a part Native-American businessman who has lost his way in terms of being connected to his heritage. The movie follows Joe as he returns to his reservation to convince the tribal council to allow him to expand the casino on tribal grounds. The council agrees, but on one condition: he must coach the reservation’s high-school lacrosse team.

As Joe works with the struggling group, he slowly begins to rediscover his roots and remember what the game represents to his people. But can he help the underdog team defeat its better-equipped prep-school rival for the championship title? TFK spoke to Routh about the film and how it connected him to his own Native-American heritage.

TFK:

What inspired you to take on this role?

BRANDON ROUTH:

The film has a lot of heart. It really explains the purpose of the sport of lacrosse. The game began as a way for the Native Americans to honor the creator. They were able to teach a lot of life lessons though the game. It was connected to their being and to their spirit and was a celebration of life. This is well represented in the film, so I was happy and excited about that aspect. Then there was the lacrosse aspect. Learning to play for this movie was a lot of fun. I also enjoyed playing a character that was different from the ones I’d done before.

TFK:

Your character starts out with some issues in the beginning of the movie. How did you go about getting into his head?

ROUTH:

For any character, I try to find his motivation. Even though Joe is perceived as the bad guy, he’s passionate about what he believes in. His goal is the betterment of his people. But he loses sight of some things on his way to achieving that. He starts selling out a bit and starts to not treat his tribe with the respect that he should. So my goal was just to find that passion that he had, even if he was going about things the wrong way. That was my “in.”

TFK:

What was your lacrosse training like?

ROUTH:

I worked daily with a couple of different coaches who ran me through the rules of the game and the basics of throwing the ball and catching. It’s a lot of repetitive work until you get down the basics. Then you start to work on the finesse of the throwing motion and all of those details. Though, it was frustrating at times because I did a lot of running after the balls I didn’t catch!

TFK:

There’s a nice scene where Joe makes a deal that if he shoots a goal in every corner of the net, then the team goes running. Did you really make those shots?

Joe Logan (played by Brandon Routh) is tasked by the tribal council to coach the reservation's struggling high-school lacrosse team.
©2012 Kent Eanes/Peck Entertainment
Through coaching lacrosse, Joe (Routh) is able to reconnect with his Native-American roots.

ROUTH:

It was movie magic. That’s me throwing, but if we had to wait for me to nail all those shots, it would have taken forever. We only had 45 minutes to shoot that scene because the sun was setting. I’d worked for months and months for this one scene, and then they had to hurry me. Thankfully I’d done all the practice, so it looked like I was somewhat professional.

TFK:

All of the lacrosse players in the film are real athletes and not actors. What kind of energy did that bring to the set?

ROUTH:

There was a lot of excitement. They were like kids in a candy store. They’d never experienced anything like this before, so they had a lot of enthusiasm. They held their own and really made their characters real. They did a fine job for never having been in front of the camera before. And they are amazing lacrosse players. It was fun to watch them play.

TFK:

Did doing this film bring you closer to your own Kickapoo heritage?

ROUTH:

It brought me a lot closer. I’m not exactly sure how closely related the Kickapoo is to the Onondaga, who were featured in the movie. But I had no connection of that aspect of my heritage before now. This was a neat experience for me to be able to understand the history of the sport and to learn about Native American culture.

TFK:

Joe’s spirit animal is an eagle. What would yours be?

ROUTH:

You know, it’s funny. From a young age, I was always fond of hawks and eagles. I think I’m probably more of a hawk. There’s just something about flying—which I guess is kind of a theme for me. The only other animal I would think of is a mountain lion or a cheetah, or something that runs really fast, even though I don’t run really fast. [Laughs] I wish I could.

TFK:

What was the most memorable moment of filming for you?

ROUTH:

I think one of the most memorable moments for me was the scene when Joe runs up to the top of the mountain and finds [his mentor] Crooked Arrow. I loved all of the scenes with Dennis Ambriz, who played him. He was fantastic. He brought so much spirit and truth to the words in the script. Crooked Arrow is the one who passes on so much of the heritage and the history lessons in the film. Dennis has a great strength about him, so I really appreciated the scenes with him. It really made me feel connected to the Native American aspect of myself.

TFK:

What kinds of conversations do you hope the film starts?

ROUTH:

I hope it starts a conversation about the Native American community in our country and helps to bridge the gap. We tend to be a little more separated than we should be in this country, and it’s something that’s not often talked about. I realized while filming this movie that there are no other films or TV series that I know of that really feature contemporary Native Americans. I think it’s exciting that this film has that.

TFK:

Do you think this film opens the door for more lacrosse movies and more films about contemporary Native Americans?

ROUTH:

It certainly opens it up for more lacrosse. Hopefully, we can do more of these films and give lacrosse even more exposure. And maybe it’ll give some of these guys, if they choose to continue acting, more roles to play and a more visible face in cinema and television. That would be a great thing.

 

Crooked Arrows is rated PG-13. The film also stars Gil Birmingham as Ben Logan and Chelsea Ricketts as Nadie Logan.


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