Arian Foster, American football running back for the Houston Texans, tests his Hollywood acting skills on the big screen as a college football player waiting for his name to be called at the annual National Football League draft in the film Draft Day, which released in U.S. theaters on April 11. Foster, 27, a three-time Pro Bowl selection in his five-year pro-career, is one of the sport’s noted underdog success stories, having been passed over in the 2009 draft after playing at the University of Tennessee. Foster spoke about his Draft Day co-star, Terry Crews, who played briefly in the NFL before turning to acting. Together they talked about the career transition for NFL players once they leave the game, the draft and their beefs with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, now facing pressure from athletes wanting to unionise.
Have you thought about pursuing acting once your football career concludes?
Foster: So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences in the film industry. If an opportunity presents itself again, I would definitely take it up, as long as it does not interfere with my football career. I was passionate about fottball since I was seven years old.
What are the difficulties that a football player faces while transitioning to another career?
Crews: You’re identified with being a football player and then all of a sudden you’re out there in normal life, and it’s very, very harsh. The guys you went to college with are established in their careers , but now you’re starting all over again and your classmate has become your boss.
Draft Day shows the eccentric questions teams often ask draft prospects. What peculiar questions did either of you get?
Foster: They asked me, ‘Would you rather be a cat or dog?’ (laughs) I said, ‘I’d rather be a human.’
Crews: It was weird. They were asking me why my college coaches didn’t like me, because we had a big beef going on with the college stuff. They (NFL teams) thought it was a character flaw, and it just turns out they (my coaches) didn’t like me. They were really invasive in your personal life.
Arian, did you have a similar issue at Tennessee?
Foster: My coaches and I were at loggerhead. I kind of butted heads with everything in college because it’s a farm club system. I’m just extremely against the NCAA, and that showed throughout my college tenure leading up to the preparations for the draft, with the NFL teams asking me all kinds of questions. I didn’t know (my college coaches) were cutting my throat behind the scenes. So they asked me, ‘How do your coaches do this?’ ‘Oh, they’ll tell you I’m a good, hard worker’. But little did I know that they were actually saying that I don’t work hard, am not a good teammate etc. It was a great experience either way.
Crews: One problem with the NCAA is the fact that they’re not paying you, it makes them (coaches) your fathers. But they’re not your father, but they act like one
Foster: And you’re paying for your father’s salary…
Crews: The coaches talk about you as if they’re your dad and know who you are. They speak on things that they have no idea because they’re not paying you. I do not watch (college basketball’s) March Madness with people making billions of dollars and these poor guys snapping their legs on national TV, and not being paid. It’s not American. Where in America can you not demand a fair salary or a fair day’s pay?
Final book in Divergent trilogy to be split into two films
The final book in the Divergent trilogy will be split into two movies, revealed Lions Gate, following the same formula the studio used for the upcoming final installments of The Hunger Games series. Allegiant Part 1 will release on March 18, 2016, and its second part a year later on March 24, 2017, the studio said. Divergent, a dystopian thriller based on the young adult book series by author Veronica Roth, stars Shailene Woodley and was released last month, grossing $116.6 million so far at the U.S. box-office. The series tells the story of a futuristic society that divides people into groups based on personality traits. Woodley’s character, teen heroine Tris Prior, becomes a threat to the government-enforced system as her multiple dominant traits make it difficult for her to fit into society.
The second film in the franchise, Insurgent, is set to begin production next month with a release date of March 20, 2015. Theo James stars alongside Woodley in the films.
Lions Gate will release the final two installments of The Hunger Games franchise, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 starring Jennifer Lawrence, in November, followed by the second part in November 2015. The Hunger Games series has so far grossed $1.5 billion in global ticket sales. The final installment of the Twilight series, another young adult book series adapted for the big screen by Summit Entertainment, was split into two parts. Lions Gate purchased Summit in 2012 and distributed the final Twilight film. The series grossed $3.3 billion over five films released between 2008 and 2012.