That’s a wrap!: “1,000 to 1” cast reflects on filming experience in final days of production
By Jennifer Kiebach, News and Web Editor
As he stands at the free throw line, the tension in the warm gym is palpable. He makes his first shot, and it bounces out of the basket. The crowd lets out a collective, disappointed sigh.
He faces the basket again, lets out a breath, and prepares for his final chance at the shot. The crowd and the players on the opposing team watch the ball as it flies toward the net.
It misses again, but the crowd bursts into applause.
The player is David Henrie, and the crowd is a handful of movie extras huddled in a section of bleachers in Bream Gym. Even though Henrie missed the shot, he will have plenty of chances to get it right for the camera.
“I missed that one like a champ,” he joked when the ball bounces out of the net after yet another failed attempt. “I hope you guys got that.”
Such was the scene Oct. 19 during one of the last days of filming for “1,000 to 1: The Cory Weissman Story.” Henrie portrays Gettysburg College student and basketball player
Cory Weissman, who suffered a stroke at the end of his freshman year. The scene being filmed was one of the key moments in the film, and in Weissman’s life.
Unlike Henrie, the real-life Weissman made the free throw on his second attempt. This one point, and the events leading up to it, rocketed Weissman to college sports stardom and inspired producers to create a movie about his experiences.
Crews spent about three weeks filming on the College campus, and, as cast members put in their final performances over the weekend of Oct. 19, they reflected on Weissman’s inspirational story.
“All stories about sports are lessons about life as well,” said actor Beau Bridges, who portrays Weissman’s coach, George Petrie, in the film.
Bridges, who played basketball for the University of California Los Angeles, added that basketball teaches players that they must always play as hard as they can, even when they miss a basket. He believes Weissman demonstrated this spirit of perseverance during his recovery.
“He could have given up,” he said. “I’m inspired by Cory Weissman’s story.”
Henrie also praised Weissman’s determination, saying he tried to replicate his indomitable spirit in his portrayal.
“He’s got so much heart, and he’s not lacking in the confidence department,” Henrie said.
He added that while he struggled to learn about the physical and mental progression that Weissman went through after his stroke, he nonetheless had no trouble relating to his character’s personality.
“It was unreal. It was serendipitous how similar we were,” he said. “It was all sort of meant to be.”
Myk Watford, who plays Cory Weissman’s father, Mark Weissman, said he also did not have to dig too deep to invoke the feelings necessary for his role. As a father, he could imagine the pain that he might feel if something like what happened to Cory would ever happen to his own child. When he needed some inspiration for the role, he said, he would just pull out a photo of his son.
While the script does take some creative liberties with its portrayal the real-life characters, both Watford and Henrie spent extensive time with Cory and the rest of the Weissman family in order to gain inspiration for their roles.
Watford described the family as “incredible,” and Henrie admired Weissman’s willingness to share his story and show people that they can succeed, “no matter what hand you’re dealt in life.”
Cassi Thomson, who plays Weissman’s ex-girlfriend, and Hannah Marks, who plays another girlfriend later in the film, also expressed their admiration of Cory and his family, as well as of the Gettysburg campus.
“I love it here. I think it’s really, really beautiful,” said Marks. As an online college student who has never had the experience of attending a college campus, she said she especially enjoyed the College’s atmosphere. Servo, which had offerings to meet her vegetarian tastes, was one of her favorite places.
Thomson also expressed her appreciation for the College’s hospitality, saying that she enjoyed vising the Bullet Hole and the College bookstore.
She added that although her character is only very loosely based on Weissman’s real-life ex, he helped her understand the difficult emotions that her character experiences as she “watches someone she loves” endure a life-threatening injury
As for Weissman, he says he just appreciates the opportunity that the movie has given him to inspire others who have faced hardship.
“I thought my stroke was the worst thing that ever happened to me,” he said. Now, he said, he views it as an opportunity to help others in a way that most people never can.
Even as he consorts with the movie stars who will be telling his story–and gives David Henrie tips on how to make a free throw–Weissman, who will graduate at the end of this semester, insists that the media attention he received has not affected the way others view him or the way he views himself..
“I’m just me,” he said. “Everyone knows that I’m still me.