Lamar Jackson has been a revelation in his second season in the NFL, as he’s all but locked up MVP honors with what he’s done in leading the Ravens to a league-best 12-2 record.
Jackson was the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, meaning just about every team including the Ravens had passed on him once despite his college credentials that included an incredible Heisman-winning season at Louisville. There were questions about his size and passing acumen and whether he’d be able to translate his electrifying game to the next level where the athletes are better and windows are smaller.
The answer has been emphatically yes, and he will be an inspiration to an entire generation of young quarterbacks who will learn they can be exactly who they are and succeed - provided they are elite at it and given the chance and freedom to be them. Jackson is also inspiring to others outside the world of football, including legendary actor Al Pacino. That may come as a fairly stunning surprise, but the 79-year-old Academy Award winner recently spoke with The Ringer for an oral history of Any Given Sunday and explained why he takes inspiration from the joy Jackson shows in plying his craft - and also noting the similarities between he and Willie Beamen from the movie.
I watch this guy Lamar Jackson. There are occasionally these players that are inspiring because you can see the game that they play is a game, and you can actually sense the joy they have in what they do. That’s inspiring. Watching Lamar Jackson is an inspiration to actors. Finding that pocket, finding, where is that joy that gets under you and brings you out? The freedom to let go of the conscious, and get it to the unconscious and fly like he does?
With Willie Beamen, he was put in the background. Lamar was waiting behind Flacco, and I don’t see how he got overlooked. What Lamar’s doing was always there. You can clearly see it. Then you watch how he throws with such accuracy. He seems so comfortable throwing a football, like he’s been doing it all his life.
It’s pretty cool that the way Jackson plays isn’t just inspiring to young football players but also to someone like Pacino, who is a legend in his own industry. It’s also pretty telling of how Pacino tries to operate as an actor, still seeking to find the joy in doing what he’s loved to all these years later.
At the age of 28, Logan Lerman's career has already hit impressive s. He's worked alongside some of the most iconic actors in critically acclaimed hits like 3:10 to Yuma and crowd-pleasers like Fury and The Patriot. Further, his coming-of-age hits include Perks of a Wallflower and the Percy Jackson franchise, among other projects. Fast forward to 2020, and Logan's enjoying second billing behind the legendary Al Pacino in Amazon's Hunters series, which is executive produced by Jordan Peele. It's not a bad place to be.
Logan stars in Hunters as Jonah Heidelbaum, a young man who experiences a great tragedy that's not unlike the plight of Peter Parker. Soon enough, Jonah crosses paths with Al Pacino's financier character, who recruits Jonah into his ragtag band of Nazi hunters. The show largely takes place in '70s New York, and it's heavy on the Quentin Tarantino vibes as well as the comic book references. Logan was gracious enough to discuss his role, which involved both a transformation as well as weapon-wielding skills and dancing not at the same time. He described an intense production, but fortunately, Pacino made the experience more than worthwhile for his onscreen protégé.
The Hunters premise has made a lot of people think of Inglorious Basterds.
Of course, naturally, yeah.
For the curious, would you distinguish the two works?
Oh, they're very different tones and subject matter. I haven't thought about Inglourious Basterds enough to tell you what makes this different, but they take place in different time periods, and there's more truth in what's happening in Hunters. This is definitely a big, over-the-top show that's not grounded in reality, but it is grounded in truth in the sense that Nazis were given immunity after World War II and some were living in the U.S. And it plays into that situation, but the center of the series really revolves around a question about morality, about evil and how to combat it. Like, do you have to be evil in order to fight evil. Do you need to become a bad guy in order to fight the bad guys? That's what we're really exploring at the center of the series. That's not the question at the center of Inglourious Basterds, so that's the biggest difference.
And that morality struggle comes up in conversation between Jonah and his friends about Batman and going to the dark side.
Yeah, it's interesting because people are thinking about Inglourious Basterds, but this is much more like a comic book film. It's very much more along the lines of Spider-Man.
We don't want to spoil which side Jonah goes to, but if you personally could be a Batman or a Spider-Man type, who would you pick?
They're both pretty cool characters. I really don't know, to be honest. I haven't read the comic books,...