ESPN’s Mark Schlereth has role as a coach in new Red Dawn film

 

NFL analyst and ESPN Radio host Mark Schlereth has a wide range of interests beyond football and sports.

The three-time Super Bowl champ once had a recurring role on Guiding Light, his life was the subject of a CBS comedy pilot, and he has also had discussions about a reality TV series. He even owns his own green chile company.

If all this wasn’t enough, Schlereth has a high-profile role in Open Road Films’ new Red Dawn, a remake of the 1984 cult classic, which arrives in theaters Wednesday, Nov. 21.

Front Row spoke with Schlereth about Red Dawn, whether he will continue to pursue acting and other topics:

What’s your role in Red Dawn?
The beginning of the film has a scene at a football stadium. I’m the coach of this high school team. I’m coaching and yelling at these kids from the sidelines in the first few minutes and then I’m done.

How did the opportunity come about to be in the film?
It was actually shot three years ago. At the time I was working with a manager and he wanted me to do some movies. I had this recurring role on Guiding Light. I put something on tape because I couldn’t go to an audition. I got the approval from the director, and that’s how I got the part.

What did the shoot entail for your scene?
We’d show up in Troy, Michigan at 7 p.m. and wait for it to get dark. Then, we’d shoot from 9 p.m. until about 7 a.m. the next morning. We did that for two nights.

How realistic are the football scenes?
The action scenes are very good. The director is Dan Bradley, who did stunts for the Bourne movies with Matt Damon. The film used real players who came from college programs and were playing Arena Football at the time. The hits are real. In one scene the kid who plays quarterback gets his helmet knocked off. You could hear the hit. It just shook you to the core. Then the director says, “Okay, let’s line it up again. We need to change camera angles.” In our business, I’m used to one take. In this, they have to get the shot from eight different angles. This kid had to keep lining back up and take this shot. It was vicious every time. I felt bad for him.

Will you continue to pursue acting?
I’ve had opportunities to do movie stuff, but with my schedule I haven’t been able to make it work. If I can fit it in and it makes sense, I’ll do it, but I’m not planning to become an actor. I love football and I love working at ESPN and having the opportunities to do what I do. There’s only so much time.

Were you a fan of the original Red Dawn?
I’m a child of the 1980s, so the original was right in my wheelhouse. I was in high school and getting ready to go to college in 1984 when it came out. One of the cool things about this is that people who are in my generation and saw Red Dawn growing up now have kids that age. As a parent, I’ve always tried to do things that I can share with my family and this is one of them. I hope a lot fathers take their kids and have that shared experience and say, “I was your age when the original movie came out.”

We have a special screening in Denver on Tuesday, which I’ll attend with my family just before Thanksgiving. The local ESPN Radio affiliate will also make an event of it. It’s going to be fun.