Hooper (1978)

PG | 99 mins | Drama | 14 July 1978

Director:

Hal Needham

Producer:

Hank Moonjean

Cinematographer:

Robert Byrne

Editor:

Donn Cambern

Production Designer:

Hilyard Brown

Production Company:

Warner Bros., Inc.
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HISTORY

       The film, originally titled The Stuntman, was announced with Lamont Johnson attached to direct according to a 28 May 1975 HR news item.
       Producer-director Richard Rush took Warner Bros., the studio developing the picture with star Burt Reynolds, to arbitration before the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) over the film's title. As discussed in an 8 Jun 1976 DV article, the MPAA ruled that Rush had prior claim to the title. Rush’s project, based on the 1970 novel by Paul Brodeur called The Stunt Man, had previously been in development at Columbia Pictures.
       Due to delays caused by the arbitration and by problems with the script, the project was shelved in 1976 according to a 13 Aug 1976 HR article. Further, Burt Reynolds pulled out due to previous obligations to film Smokey and the Bandit (1977, see entry) and Semi-Tough (1977, see entry). Despite the problems, Reynolds said he was committed to doing the project because his film career began as a Hollywood stuntman. He was also contractually obligated to make a film with Warner Bros.
       By the fall of 1977 the project had been re-activated by Warner Bros. At the same time, Rush’s The Stunt Man (1980, see entry) was about to go into production. Worried that the two projects would cause confusion in the media, Rush considered reactivating his appeal to the MPAA to force Warner Brothers to drop their new but similar title, Hollywood Stuntman, if the studio didn't voluntarily change the title themselves.
       Meanwhile, principal photography began on ... More Less

       The film, originally titled The Stuntman, was announced with Lamont Johnson attached to direct according to a 28 May 1975 HR news item.
       Producer-director Richard Rush took Warner Bros., the studio developing the picture with star Burt Reynolds, to arbitration before the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) over the film's title. As discussed in an 8 Jun 1976 DV article, the MPAA ruled that Rush had prior claim to the title. Rush’s project, based on the 1970 novel by Paul Brodeur called The Stunt Man, had previously been in development at Columbia Pictures.
       Due to delays caused by the arbitration and by problems with the script, the project was shelved in 1976 according to a 13 Aug 1976 HR article. Further, Burt Reynolds pulled out due to previous obligations to film Smokey and the Bandit (1977, see entry) and Semi-Tough (1977, see entry). Despite the problems, Reynolds said he was committed to doing the project because his film career began as a Hollywood stuntman. He was also contractually obligated to make a film with Warner Bros.
       By the fall of 1977 the project had been re-activated by Warner Bros. At the same time, Rush’s The Stunt Man (1980, see entry) was about to go into production. Worried that the two projects would cause confusion in the media, Rush considered reactivating his appeal to the MPAA to force Warner Brothers to drop their new but similar title, Hollywood Stuntman, if the studio didn't voluntarily change the title themselves.
       Meanwhile, principal photography began on Hollywood Stuntman 31 Jan 1978 in Tuscaloosa, AL according to a 31 Jan 1978 HR news item with Hal Needham directing.
       A 31 Mar 1978 DV news item announced that Reynolds and Warner Bros. lost the appeal, thus forcing them to choose a new title. In a 13 Apr 1978 HR news item, it was announced that the title was changed to Hooper.
       Hooper marked the feature film debut of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw according to a 21 Apr 1978 Entertainment Today article.
       As stated in a HR news item, Hooper grossed $55 million to 28 Sep 1978 since its 14 Jul 1978 release in 2,380 theaters across the United States.
      The film’s closing credits include the statement: “The producers of this film gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the following stuntmen and stuntwomen who made the film possible”; which is then followed by a list of the stunt crew's names. That list is followed by the statements: “And to the following stunt organizations: Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures, Inc.; Black Stuntmen’s Association of Hollywood; Stuntwomen’s Association; Society of Professional Stuntwomen; [and] Stunts Unlimited”; and “Filmed at The Burbank Studios, Burbank, California.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
8 Jun 1976.
---
Daily Variety
19 Oct 1977.
---
Daily Variety
13 Dec 1977.
---
Daily Variety
14 Feb 1978.
---
Daily Variety
31 Mar 1978.
---
Daily Variety
24 Jul 1978.
---
Entertainment Today
21 Apr 1978
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Aug 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Sep 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jan 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Feb 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Apr 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Apr 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jul 1978
p. 3, 13.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Aug 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Sep 1978.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 Sep 1977
Pt. IV, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
21 Sep 1977.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Aug 1978
p. 12.
New York Times
4 Aug 1978
p. 11.
Variety
2 Nov 1977.
---
Variety
22 Feb 1978.
---
Variety
26 Jul 1978
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Warner Communications Company Presents
A Burt Reynolds-Lawrence Gordon Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Stills
Gaffer
Key grip
Elec best boy
Elec best boy
Lamp op
Lamp op
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Painter foreman
Standby painter
Leadman
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Men`s cost
Men`s cost
Women`s cost
SOUND
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Cableman
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Prod secy
Asst to exec prod
Asst to exec prod
Transportation coord
Auditor
Asst auditor
Wrangler
Horse trainer
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Caterer
Aide
Secy to prod
Secy to dir
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
SOURCES
MUSIC
"A Player, A Pawn, A Hero, A King," sung by Tammy Wynette, written by Stewart Harris
"Hooper," sung and written by Bent Myggen.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Double Jeopardy
The Stuntman
Stuntman
Hollywood Stuntman
Release Date:
14 July 1978
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 4 August 1979
Los Angeles opening: 9 August 1978
Production Date:
began 31 January 1978 in Tuscaloosa, AL.
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers, Inc.
Copyright Date:
12 March 1979
Copyright Number:
PA28104
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex® Camera by Panavision®; Prints by Metrocolor®
Duration(in mins):
99
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

As stuntman Sonny Hooper dresses for work, numerous scars and bandages cover his aging body. He arrives on set of The Spy Who Laughed at Danger as stunt double for the film’s star, Adam West. Sonny executes a dangerous motorcycle stunt perfectly. Anticipating praise, Sonny is annoyed when the director, Roger Deal, does not show appreciation. Sonny complains to his assistant, Cully, about recurring back pain. Sonny’s girlfriend, Gwen Doyle; the film’s producer, Man Berns; and Cully all express concern about Sonny’s health. They worry he’s relying too much on pain medication and insist he see a doctor; however, Sonny brushes them off. The next day, Sonny performs a stunt fall with a real dog. While protecting the dog during the landing, Sonny aggravates his back injury and asks Cully to inject him with pain medication. Later that day, Gwen and a friend talk Sonny into performing at a charity stunt show coordinated by her father, veteran stuntman Jocko Doyle. At the charity show, Delmore “Ski” Shidski, a young, up-and-coming stuntman makes a grand entrance, free falling from a helicopter. Feeling threatened, Sonny challenges Ski to a chariot race. During the race, Sonny out performs Ski, who falls off of his chariot. Ski has nothing but respect and admiration for Sonny, and has studied his every stunt. That evening, Sonny, his stunt crew, Ski, Gwen and Jocko, go to a local bar for dinner. When patrons complain that Sonny’s group is too loud, an argument escalates into a brawl. After destroying the bar, both parties ... +


As stuntman Sonny Hooper dresses for work, numerous scars and bandages cover his aging body. He arrives on set of The Spy Who Laughed at Danger as stunt double for the film’s star, Adam West. Sonny executes a dangerous motorcycle stunt perfectly. Anticipating praise, Sonny is annoyed when the director, Roger Deal, does not show appreciation. Sonny complains to his assistant, Cully, about recurring back pain. Sonny’s girlfriend, Gwen Doyle; the film’s producer, Man Berns; and Cully all express concern about Sonny’s health. They worry he’s relying too much on pain medication and insist he see a doctor; however, Sonny brushes them off. The next day, Sonny performs a stunt fall with a real dog. While protecting the dog during the landing, Sonny aggravates his back injury and asks Cully to inject him with pain medication. Later that day, Gwen and a friend talk Sonny into performing at a charity stunt show coordinated by her father, veteran stuntman Jocko Doyle. At the charity show, Delmore “Ski” Shidski, a young, up-and-coming stuntman makes a grand entrance, free falling from a helicopter. Feeling threatened, Sonny challenges Ski to a chariot race. During the race, Sonny out performs Ski, who falls off of his chariot. Ski has nothing but respect and admiration for Sonny, and has studied his every stunt. That evening, Sonny, his stunt crew, Ski, Gwen and Jocko, go to a local bar for dinner. When patrons complain that Sonny’s group is too loud, an argument escalates into a brawl. After destroying the bar, both parties make up and go to Sonny’s place for an after-party. Sonny, Ski and Jocko stay up all night watching Sonny’s stunt reel. In the morning, Jocko demands to know when Sonny will marry his daughter and refuses to believe Sonny’s excuses. Some time later, Ski arrives on set ready to work, but Sonny doesn’t remember hiring him, as he was drunk. When the director, Roger, is unimpressed with Sonny’s latest stunt, Ski makes a suggestion that turns out well, so Roger asks Ski to replace another stuntman on the project. As the film’s stunt coordinator, Sonny is displeased, and he and Ski raise the stakes with each stunt. Sonny performs a record free fall from a helicopter. Although the stunt goes well, Sonny asks Cully to take him to a doctor, who warns that one bad jolt to his neck could paralyze him. The next day, Sonny learns that Roger is re-writing the entire script to add more stunts. Roger meets with Sonny and Ski to discuss his new dramatic ending that includes a climactic earthquake, complete with fires, explosions and crashes. When Roger suggests that Sonny and Ski rappel down and then up a gorge, Ski proposes jumping the gorge in a rocket car. Sonny demands that they each be paid $50,000 and Max worries about their safety, but Roger still wants the stunt. That evening, Sonny learns that Jocko had a stroke and visits him in the hospital. Sonny informs Gwen that he will quit the business after completing the film. Later, a drunken Cully comes to Sonny and Gwen’s house. He informs Sonny he was fired due to budget cuts. He also pleads with Sonny not to do the rocket car stunt as he heard about his precarious condition from Sonny’s doctor. Gwen overhears and is furious that Sonny did not tell her. The next day, Sonny backs out of the stunt. Roger is angry and insists he will do the stunt without Sonny, but Max supports Sonny’s decision and warns Roger that no other stuntman can replace him. Roger threatens to quit if he does not get his way. Later, Sonny laments to Cully that there is a new breed of stuntman and he will soon be obsolete. Days later, Max worries that, if he can’t deliver the picture to the studio, his career is over. He begs Sonny to do the rocket car stunt. Sonny reluctantly agrees. When Gwen hears, she threatens to leave Sonny. Later, as Sonny and Ski rehearse, Gwen arrives on set to watch. During the stunt, Ski slams on the car brakes before they jump the gorge, claiming that conditions aren’t right, but Sonny talks him into continuing the scene. They successfully jump the gorge, but land extremely hard. Although Ski is unscathed, Sonny is in shock and unresponsive. As Gwen tearfully makes her way to the car, Sonny slowly awakens and hugs his lover, who tells Max that this was Sonny’s final stunt. Roger finally compliments Sonny and says there are no hard feelings between them. Unmoved, Sonny punches Roger in the jaw, then happily walks off the set with Gwen, Ski, Cully and Jocko. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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