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New movie “Touchback” stars former Oklahoman Brian Presley as a man facing storms of life

With “Touchback,” goal of actor Brian Presley, who grew up in Texas and in Oklahoma, was to make an inspirational football movie about second chances.
by Lillie-Beth Brinkman Published: April 13, 2012

When actor Brian Presley recently returned to a familiar area of the country for him — Dallas — to promote his new movie, “Touchback,” bad weather hit, keeping some of the viewers away from the premiere.

Even some of the Los Angeles types associated with the film missed the event when their plane was diverted to El Paso, Texas, because of the April 3 tornadoes around Dallas, said Presley, who was born in Odessa, Texas, but moved to Jenks at age 7.

Presley noted in a recent phone interview that the Dallas storms offered a poignant parallel to a key message of his film about a down-on-his-luck former high school football star: When the storms of life hit, we look at what's truly important to us.

“Thank God nobody lost their life yesterday (in Dallas),” Presley said.

In “Touchback,” Presley stars as Scott Murphy, the family man and farmer still known around his small Midwest town of Coldwater as “Mr. Football.” His touchdown years ago on the last play of the game resulted in the town school's only state high school championship, but it also mangled his leg and his dreams of a promising, lucrative career in football.

Co-stars include Kurt Russell as the football coach, Christine Lahti as Murphy's mother and Melanie Lynskey as his wife. Presley's company, Freedom Films, produced it.

“We were really lucky with the cast we got, and it was awesome,” Presley said. “Working with Kurt Russell was really a dream come true.”

In “Touchback,” “if only ...” is a lament of Murphy's as his circumstances in life go from bad to worse, especially as he dreams of the financial freedom that a football career could have brought him. Soon, in an “It's a Wonderful Life” kind of moment, he gets his chance at a do-over and finds himself back in high school, preparing for the big game with the chance of having circumstances turn out differently.

“It's easy to look back and go ‘why?' but I think life is life and there's going to be storms we have to endure,” Presley said. “To me the movie is accepting life as the path that God has in store for us. Sometimes that can go against what we think our desires are, but God ultimately has a plan for everything.”

Presley played football when he lived in Jenks years ago and had to do some “hard-core training” for the movie to play the sport again at age 34, he said, adding that he did most of his own stunts and really got into “the grit of the game.”

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