20 Nov 2009 It may be based on a true story, but “The Blind Side'' delivers two heart-yanking The movie recounts the story of how a tough-loving interior
No. Michael did not get into a fight with gang members in his old neighborhood. However, after researching The Blind Side true story, we discovered that while he was in college at Ole Miss, Michael got into a fight with teammate Antonio Turner who had visited the Tuohy's home. At some point after his visit, Turner called Michael a cracker for living with a white family. Antonio also made comments to Michael suggesting that he was going to have sex with Michael's white sister and white mother (similar to the comments made by the gang member in the movie). This infuriated Michael who chased after Antonio and eventually tracked him down hiding at the study hall where the football players studied with their tutors. Michael threw the 230 pound Antonio into the ground, picked him up by the throat, beat him in the face and threw him across the room. In the process, the 3-year-old son of one of the tutors was knocked to the floor and suffered a bad head wound. The small white boy laid on the floor in a pool of his own blood. When Michael saw what had happened to the boy, he ran off. Antonio was taken to one of the coaches homes for protection. At Sean Tuohy's urging, Michael eventually turned himself in to the campus police, and Sean called his friend, well known attorney Steve Farese. Michael ended up making apologies and was given ten hours of community service. -Evolution of a Game
Regarding Michael going back to his old neighborhood to see his mom, it is stated in author Michael Lewis' book that whenever Michael Oher went back to his old neighborhood bad things often happened. For instance, on one occasion Michael arrived at his birth mother's apartment to find her being arrested. She had been driving around in a truck that had belonged to a man who turned up murdered. The police asked Michael what he was doing there and then took him into custody to central lockup. Sean had to get him out.
No. The real Collins Tuohy never had to overcome taunting at school because of Michael staying with her family. "My friends were very open to Michael," Collins said. "They were very sweet to him and we all got along really well." After investigating The Blind Side true story, we discovered that the reality of Collin's support of Michael was actually much more profound than what is seen onscreen. Collins Tuohy, an honor student, rearranged her entire class schedule in order to help Michael. She dropped all of her AP (advanced placement) classes to be in Michael's English and math classes, so that she could understand what his assignments were. She spent several hours at night helping him with his homework. "That was the most studying I'd ever done in my life," Collins recalled (20/20). Collins isn't quite as timid as her onscreen counterpart and being seen with Michael at school was never an issue. She was a cheerleader and he played football, and they both were on the track team together (Huckabee).
Yes. In the movie, Leigh Anne's (Sandra Bullock) friends ask her intrusive questions about Michael during a lunch gathering. The real Leigh Anne Tuohy commented on this in Michael Lewis' book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, "We knew people were going to have issues because we had a daughter exactly the same age," Leigh Anne admitted. Leigh Anne faced countless questions from people she encountered at shops, restaurants and school events, all typically asking, "How have you handled it?" More specifically, one of the questions they often asked her was how she handled Michael's sexual urges, him being a teenage boy living under the same roof as her daughter. Eventually, Leigh Anne let her opinion of this line of questioning be known, "You just need to mind your own business. You worry about your own life and I'll worry about mine," she said.
Yes. As in the movie, most people who knew Michael Oher referred to him as "Big Mike". This included the people he knew back in Hurt Village where he grew up and the people he met at Briarcrest Christian School. Like in The Blind Side movie, in real life he admitted to Leigh Anne that he hated to be called "Big Mike". -Evolution of a Game
Yes. The Blind Side true story reveals that Michael's birth mother had been addicted to crack cocaine. "She wasn't really around too much," Michael recalled in a 20/20 interview. "I took care of myself most of the time." He was one of twelve kids growing up in a broken home in Hurt Village, a housing project located in crime ridden North Memphis.
Like in The Blind Side movie, Michael Oher's birth father was murdered. He was shot and killed, then thrown off an overpass on the west side of Memphis. Michael didn't learn of his father's death until three months after it happened, partially because it took time for his father to be identified. Tony Henderson, who helped Michael get into Briarcrest, called the school office with the news of Michael's father's death. Michael's father hadn't been around when he was growing up. -The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game
The character in the movie who refers to himself as Tony Hamilton is based on Tony Henderson (aka Big Tony), who in real life runs an athletic program that mentors teens in his neighborhood. Recognizing Michael's unstable home life, Tony took Michael in. "He was a good kid," Tony recalls. "He was real quiet and especially stayed to himself." Like in The Blind Side movie, Tony took his teenage son Steven to be enrolled in Briarcrest Christian School, and he brought Michael along with them (20/20). In real life, Tony worked across town as a mechanic, as stated in the movie (Evolution of a Game).
Yes. According to the Michael Lewis book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, the football coach at Briarcrest, Hugh Freeze (referred to as Burt Cotton in the movie), did encourage his colleagues to accept Michael's application.
No. When researching The Blind Side facts vs fiction, it was revealed that due to Michael Oher's poor and nearly non-existent academic record as of 2002, the principal at Briarcrest insisted that he participate in a home school program for a few months first to get his grades up. -The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game
"There were a few artistic liberties taken in that scene," the real Leigh Anne Tuohy told Mike Huckabee during a Fox News Channel interview. Unlike the rainy nighttime scene in the movie, The Blind Side true story reveals that Leigh Anne's encounter with Michael on the side of the road really happened on a cold morning during Thanksgiving break. She and her husband watched Michael get off a city bus in the snow wearing only cutoff blue jeans and a t-shirt. Like in the movie, Michael was on his way to the school gym in order to escape the weather and find warmth. In reality, Leigh Anne didn't offer Michael a place to stay immediately. Instead, their encounter on the side of the road on that snowy November morning in 2002, prompted her to pick Michael up at Briarcrest the next day and take him shopping. She couldn't ignore that he had been out in the cold in cutoff jeans and a t-shirt, the same outfit he was seen wearing every day. -Evolution of a Game
Yes. In The Blind Side movie, the Tuohys hire Kathy Bates' character, Miss Sue, to tutor Michael. In real life, Sue Mitchell spoke about her routine with Michael, "We worked hours and hours every day. He would come home, he'd take a shower and we would work until at least 11:30 every night. And we did this six nights a week." (20/20) By his senior year at Briarcrest, Michael was making the honor roll (Author Michael Lewis Interview).