Little-Known Facts About The Blind Side 10 Years Later
In November 2009, John Lee Hancock's The Blind Side took audiences by storm. Based on the story of Michael Oher, the movie shows viewers how a once homeless young man became an All-American first-round draft pick in the NFL.
The caring and loving Tuohy family takes him in and are instrumental in helping him achieve success. Audiences loved the story, and the film soared to the top of the box office in no time. Ten years later, it's worth revisiting this exceptional film to uncover the hidden truths you might not know.
The Real Collins Tuohy
Portrayed by Lily Collins in the film, the real Collins Tuohy completely shuffled around her class schedules and dropped out of many of her advanced placement classes in order to share more classes with Michael Oher. As a straight A student, that was quite a large commitment for her.
Casting Leigh Anne Tuohy
Sandra Bullock absolutely made The Blind Side's leading role her own, but — believe it or not — she wasn't even the filmmakers' first choice for the part. In fact, the lead was offered to Julia Roberts long before Bullock was considered. When Roberts turned it down, Bullock came next.
Casting Michael Oher
The Blind Side tells the inspiring rags-to-riches story of a nobody-turned-football star, and there's a surprising parallel that occurred behind the scenes. Before Quinton Aaron was cast in the leading role, he was working as a security guard.
Scaling Back Collins' Talents
In the film, Collins Tuohy is portrayed as a teen of many talents. Depicted as a highly skilled volleyball player for her school's team as well as a star cheerleader on the sidelines, Tuohy was also an award-winning pole vaulter. She even managed to make it to the state championship.
The Miracle of Taco Bell
Because The Blind Side is based off a book by the same name, there are all kinds of little details that couldn't be used in the final draft of the screenplay. Still, Hancock wanted to include some Easter eggs from the book as a nod to readers.
While audiences view them simply as art or entertainment, a feature film is really quite a gamble for producers. After investing so much money and providing so many resources to get the film made, it's important for them to see a return on their investment.
The Sports Drama's Legacy
No one can truly anticipate just how successful a movie will be when it's released. Sure, the production companies can compare their ideas to other movies within the genre and make educated estimates, but the true numbers are never known until after opening weekend.
Other Financial Firsts
One way to guarantee audience members will show up to watch a particular film is to fill the cast with familiar faces. However, due to budget constraints or the nature of the script, sometimes only one famous face is cast.
Collins' CEO Connection
Another little nugget of information that director John Lee Hancock included in the film for readers of the book comes after Collins Tuohy's volleyball scene. Speaking to her mother, Collins says that she's going over to Cannon's house to study.
Preparing for the Role
Playing a star football player is no easy task. It's not something that just comes naturally, especially for someone who has never seriously played the sport before. This is a simple truth that actor Quinton Aaron came to know all too well.
The University of Tennessee and the FBI
One of the film's most memorable characters is Kathy Bates as Miss Sue, a key figure in Michael Oher's academic career. When Oher is talking to her about the University of Tennessee's different degree programs, she lies to him about some of the darker aspects of the criminal justice program. One element rings true, however.
Sandra Bullock's Hot Streak
When The Blind Side was released in the fall of 2009, it gave Sandra Bullock her highest-grossing opening weekend by a longshot: $34,119,372 in the United States alone. Ironically, she continuously broke that record in the years to come.
Lawrence Taylor and Joe Theismann
In The Blind Side's opening monologue, delivered by Sandra Bullock speaking as Leigh Anne Tuohy, the audience hears about one of the most monumental sports injuries in the history of the NFL — the infamous hit between Lawrence Taylor and Joe Theismann in November 1985.
Oher's Professional Career
Because the movie was released in 2009, and Michael Oher's professional career with the NFL continued until 2016, there's obviously a lot the film didn’t cover. For instance, the movie just barely touches on his time with the Baltimore Ravens, which began around the time The Blind Side hit theaters.
Meeting Michael's Match
Despite his many issues with the way he and his story were portrayed in John Lee Hancock's film, Michael Oher took it upon himself to visit the set of the film during the early days of production. Who knows? Maybe he hoped to set them straight.
Surprisingly, Michael Oher wasn't the only one who had a problem with John Lee Hancock's script. In addition to Oher's objections regarding the way his educational career was portrayed, the actual school he was attending took the film to task as well.
The Real Michael Oher's Reaction
When making a movie about people who actually exist, there's a delicate balance the crew must maintain. It’s important to portray the subjects accurately while also making them engaging enough for audiences to care about them.
College Football Cameos
Considering it's a movie about football, it makes sense that the filmmakers leapt at the opportunity to include a bunch of real-life football coaches throughout the film. This is a pretty common phenomenon, and it's a fun way to honor the actual pros who help make these stories happen.
The Cast's Musical Roots
Even though The Blind Side is a movie about football, the film actually has an incredibly musical underbelly. Two of its main cast members — both playing members of the Tuohy family — are a musician and a direct descendant of a musician.
The Cast's Southern Roots
Playing a southern couple wasn't too much of a stretch for Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. The two both have very strong connections to the American South. Bullock's father was born and raised in Alabama, and she was born in Virginia. She went on to be a cheerleader in high school, dated a football player and went to college in North Carolina.
When Michael Oher is preparing for college with Miss Sue, she gives him a list of materials he needs to read. The literary texts she assigns aren't completely meaningless. In fact, they allude to the trajectory of Michael's life.
Michael Oher's High School Coach
In addition to the whole slew of college football coaches who make cameos in the film, there's one coach with a very specific, personal connection to Michael Oher who makes an appearance. His former Briarcrest Christian High School football coach, Hugh Freeze, makes a brief appearance as an Arkansas assistant coach watching film behind Houston Nutt.
Like the literary allusions made by Miss Sue while Michael Oher is preparing for college, director John Lee Hancock took the opportunity to include one very specific artistic allusion during the key Thanksgiving scene in the film. As the phrase goes, art imitates life. In this instance, art seemingly imitates art.
The End of Oher's Career
Unfortunately, it seems Michael Oher's career as a professional football player came to an end just shy of the film's 10-year anniversary. Considering he hasn't been a member of a professional team since 2016, it's safe to assume Oher is done playing football.
Later Cast Collaborations
When a movie shoot goes well, it's not uncommon for the cast and crew to work together again in the future. When one actor sees a former collaborator attached to a project being offered to them, it's sometimes a surefire way to get them to sign on.
Sean Tuohy After the Film
A film can only show so much, which means that a lot of the extra information gets trimmed in post-production. For films based on true stories, the credits often include a bit of "Where Are They Now?" moments to appease audiences wondering about the real people behind the stories.
Possible Plot Holes
For scripted films, every single choice and every little detail is included for a reason. That's why it's so odd when features have plot holes — little details that slip through the cracks and threaten to derail a scene or even the entire film itself.
Leigh Anne Tuohy After the Film
Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy never failed to keep busy in the decade following The Blind Side's record-breaking run. After all, they would have been foolish not to keep up with the influx of popularity and recognition sent their way by the feature film.
S.J. Tuohy After the Film
S.J., also known as Sean Tuohy Jr., is just a young boy when The Blind Side takes place. Ten years after the film — and many more since the events actually occurred — S.J. is now a full-grown adult with a very successful career of his own.
Collins Tuohy After the Film
Like her brother S.J., Collins earned a degree in journalism in the years following The Blind Side. Like her mother, she makes a living doing speaking tours that promote the values shown in the film — specifically the value of others and the dangers of judgment.