Director predicts Bosworth, football star turned actor, will be 'as big as Arnold'

May 19, 1991|By Orange County Register

Gary Wichard, a man of many talents and even more superlatives, predicts that his client, football-star-turned-movie-actor Brian Bosworth, will become known as the "Brando of the '90s."

Given Mr. Brando's considerable acting talents that may be wishful thinking, but like Mr. Brando, who made one of his early marks on the screen while sitting on a motorcycle in "The Wild One," Mr. Bosworth is trying to make his own movie mark on a motorcycle in the new action film "Stone Cold," which opened Friday.

Mr. Bosworth plays a motorcycle-riding undercover police officer who infiltrates an outlaw biker gang.

"There's a certain coolness that comes from sitting atop a Harley," Mr. Wichard said, "and that's how I wanted Brian to be perceived in his first film. An actor's introduction to Hollywood is very important and I wanted Brian's introduction to be cool."

It is a reasonable goal, considering that Mr. Bosworth -- known as "The Boz" when he was playing linebacker for the University of Oklahoma Sooners and later for the Seattle Seahawks -- has always presented himself as the personification of cool.

He never looked or acted like other football players. He talked as much as he hit and he made more fashion statements than Mr. Blackwell. One never knew what to expect when the Boz took off his helmet -- an assortment of earrings usually dangled from his lobes and his hair changed color and styles from game to game.

"The Boz was a character I played on the football field," Mr. Bosworth said recently in a Santa Monica, Calif., hotel suite. "I'm not like that off the field. It was just a character I acted out on any given Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

"But the character did fit my personality," he added. "I was always like that, all the way back to elementary school. My parents had their hands full with me. But it wasn't calculated; none of that Boz image was calculated. It's just the way I am."

"Stone Cold" director Craig R. Baxley, who worked with former athletes prior to this movie (he directed Carl Weathers in "Action Jackson" and coordinated stunts in Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Predator"), said he had doubts about Mr. Bosworth before he met him.

"I think we all have an idea of who the Boz is, and I was as guilty as anyone of making that judgment based solely on what I had seen on the football field.

"But I was surprised and gratified to find out that he had studied with a top drama coach [Harold Guskin] and was a natural at acting," the director said. "He is so charismatic, he reminds me of Arnold. When this guy learns to open up and bring all that charisma to the screen, he's going to be as big as Arnold."

Mr. Bosworth had signed a 10-year, $11 million contract when he moved into the National Football League, but shoulder injuries forced an early retirement. He will collect the full amount of his contract.

Mr. Bosworth, who no longer sports a Mohawk-style haircut -- his hair currently is brown and blond, and long -- called his move into show business a "natural progression" after the high-profile type of sports career he generated.

"I never put a value on money but I always want to stay busy and work, so there was no way I was going to just sit around and do nothing, just because I have that big contract," Mr. Bosworth said. "I would die if I sat around and did nothing for the rest of my life. I'm only 25.

"Acting was a way to make myself happy and entertain people at the same time."

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