The National Football League is one full of talent, but also tragic untold stories. Athletes face the hardship of trying to make it into the selective league, but it is also a struggle to stay in it. Many football movies show the competitive nature of professional football players but neglect to show the hardship that players face. Writer, director, and retired football player Matthew A. Cherry has chosen to take a different form with his new film “The Last Fall”. We had the chance to chat with Lance Gross who plays the main character Kyle Bishop who goes through the hardship of facing the end of his football career with no money and practically having to start life over from scratch.
Gross touched on his preparation for Kyle Bishop in speaking to current, retired, and ex pro football players to make the film feel authentic:
“I spoke with every friend that I have in the NFL current and retired. I spent a lot of time talking with the director Matthew Cherry. He wrote the film also and this is based on his life so I picked his brain a lot. One of our other producers Ellis Hobbs who used to play for New England and had a career ending injury and actually made a return to the NFL, and I spent a lot of time talking with him as well. I also stayed in the gym and I packed on a little bit of weight for the role. I just wanted to make sure me bringing this character to life was as authentic as possible. I didn’t want anybody from the NFL to see this film and say that I didn’t do the job. I just wanted to make it authentic so I spent a lot of time talking to as many people as I could.”
“The Last Fall” really gets to the hardships that many players face which the public doesn’t often see. The reality that 78% of all NFL players are bankrupt, divorced, or unemployed two years after retiring from the NFL is a statistic often overlooked. Main character Kyle Bishop faces hardships on choosing between love and his career and Gross speaks on balancing both in his personal life.
“It’s all about what I’m passionate about. I am passionate about work. I am passionate about my love life so it’s just that everything has to be balanced. I am a very structured person so I mean everything falls in line easily for me. That’s the way I designed it. I’ve always done it that way so it’s just second nature to me.”
Yes ladies you heard it right he is currently dating someone, but Lance really seems to know how to balance love and work. That’s a trait not everyone is blessed to have. Although he is balancing his life unlike the main character, he did find some other similarities between himself and Bishop and passion seems to be the underlining factor.
[On Kyle Bishop] “ He’s a very passionate guy. I’d like to say that “The Last Fall” is a love story. If I have to sum it up as a love story. It’s more than just a football movie. It’s about a man’s love for football and his passion for football. It’s about his love and passion for his family and his high school sweetheart. That’s what the film is about. I feel like I could definitely relate to that because I’m passionate and driven in my career, my love life, and my family also.”
Though they share some similarities, Gross did find the reality of Bishop’s situation hard to face.
“It’s the reality of Kyle’s situation; Just having to return home to a normal life. It’s hard to go from being looked at as a NFL star to just do the normal things like get a regular job. Being an actor in this entertainment industry, I feel it’s really relatable because we go into room s as actors for auditions and we get told no all the time. We never know exactly where our next job is going to come from, but we have to continue to work as hard as we did to get here to remain in this industry. When I first started that was my biggest fear, having to return home to my parents and tell them that his career didn’t work for me so I have to start from scratch so it was definitely relatable for me.”
“The Last Fall” includes other prominent actors and actresses such as Nicole Beharie, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Keith David, and more. If you want to know the real deal with a NFL professional athlete and enjoy a good love story this is definitely the film for you.
The film was released on Friday, October 26th in Los Angeles at the Rave Theaters Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza 15. Please support the film in hopes of it being available in theatres everywhere. The DVD release date for the film is January 15, 2013.
Interview & Story Written By: LaParis Hawkins