Happy 80th to one of the best actors ever, Al Pacino. ANY GIVEN SUNDAY isn't even one of his Top Ten flicks but he fucking nails this scene and it's become legendary. The excerpt below is from the excellent oral history about the movie on The Ringer.
Ellis: We shot that in the visitor’s locker room in Dallas at 12 o’clock at night. I get a call from the AD at base camp—the cameras are set up. “Al wants to see you in the trailer.” OK, I’m going to the Godfather’s trailer. We start going through it. He’s still running lines and we’re running camera there in 15 minutes.
Williams: I remember he stumbled a little bit because it’s a long speech. Oliver comes over and says, “Hey, are you OK?” He said, “I can do this.”
Taylor: Al was rehearsing, he would fumble different lines, and then it was like BAM—they started rolling and he absolutely fucking nailed it.
Ellis: I’m standing over there in the corner and we called action and I’ll tell you, the hair on everybody’s neck stood up.
Williams: He does that speech three or four times, exactly like what you saw. We were like, are you kidding me?
Totino: You’re so tired after such a long week, and you get all set up to do this speech, you’re barely awake, every ounce of energy you’re just trying to focus. And then Al starts his speech and it’s like you got this burst of energy. This renewal, like “holy shit.” It was power beyond belief.
Pacino: Oliver was great to work with and he gave me a couple of chances, and he covers it beautifully. I remember Sidney Lumet used to like to do more takes than he usually does with me to get me tired. He thought he’d get a better performance out of me. Maybe that was Oliver’s thought.
Bryniarski: When you’re in that room, it’s echoing in every chamber of your head, off of every wall surface back at you. That would fire him up and fuel him even more. We’d get louder and louder.
Bellamy: That room was electric. It was absolutely electric. Every time he did the scene it got hyped, and he just kept delivering it. Even if you watch it now, you’ll be in your house screaming.
Quaid: Everybody was like, sit back and watch Al Pacino work. We were like audience members.
Modine: We all knew he was going to deliver an amazing performance. Al is the real deal. What we didn’t expect was the emotional nuance.
Stone: He absorbs it and gives it back in a way that makes me cry. He put his heart into it.
Pacino: It was a very good speech as it was written. Sometimes you go in and you sort of massage the speech—you work with some people and figure out how to do it, how to make it flow and genuine and in a way that you can say it—take the acting out of it.
Levy: There’s moments where we have jump cuts on Al Pacino—we cut to him and his voice is continuing, and he’s not talking on camera. They’re so incredibly emotional. Even though there’s an obvious level of artifice there, it gives you a moment to sort of really listen to what he’s saying. It draws your attention in that much more.
Williams: We open the door and run out to the field, and there’s nobody there, just an empty space. The cast is like, “Are you kidding me? We need to go play somebody!”
Tremendous stuff. And I'd be remiss if I didn't post this...