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Texas Continued: How Mike Leach May Have Inspired The New Friday Night Lights Movie

Illustration for article titled Texas Continued: How Mike Leach May Have Inspired The New emFriday Night Lights/em Movie

If you watched all five seasons of Friday Night Lights, you know that it ended pretty much perfectly, insofar as any program that almost got canceled numerous times and was bounced from network TV to an obscure satellite-only channel can coherently wrap things up narrative-wise. And yet, from the second the show went off the air, people have been clamoring for a Friday Night Lights movie.


For several months, there have been numerous reports that Peter Berg, who directed the 2004 movie and later created the TV show, was close to firming up some kind of plot device for the film. Now, it appears that his good friend and former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach—specifically how his ouster from the school came about—may have inspired the drama that awaits Coach Eric Taylor:

DETAILS: People can't wait. There was a report about the movie that saying it would focus on Coach Taylor and that the story was inspired by Mike Leach, the former Texas Tech coach who was accused of locking a kid in a closet. What about that story resonates with you?

PETER BERG: I put Leach in a little cameo in Friday Night Lights and I started to become friends with him, and then he got fired. I really studied that entire situation-his getting fired and the accusations made against him by Adam James, and the pressure that his father, Craig James, put on Leach, using his ESPN bully pulpit. Craig James is a fucking scumbag, helicopter dad-and everything wrong with the culture I observed in Texas. Mike Leach never put that kid in a closet. The kid admitted it. It was a total lie. Now Mike Leach has the Washington State University job and he's got carte blanche. It's a great comeback story.


Now, do we need another Friday Night Lights movie? Of course not, at least not in the way we need one from Arrested Development, which was cast off by Fox in a state of mass confusion and low ratings. But we'll take some more FNL, and we'll hope that most of the original cast comes back for one last go-around. (Lord knows Minka Kelly could use the work.) And we'll hope that the Leach-inspired storyline doesn't feel contrived or forced, but this is Peter Berg we're talking about. He got a major movie studio to greenlight a $200 million film that's loosely based on a board game. Clearly, the man can work miracles, and so we hope casting James as himself isn't out of the question.


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