Producers of “The Blind Side” have said that the hit film is still “verifiably authentic” after its credibility was thrust into doubt following Michael Oher’s bombshell lawsuit.
The 37-year-old former offensive tackle — whose life story inspired the 2009 film starring Sandra Bullock — this month claimed that his parents, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, never actually adopted him.
Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove, co-founders and co-CEOs of Alcon Entertainment and producers of the film, have given their two cents as “familial ups and downs” have challenged the authenticity of the storyline.
“The Blind Side is verifiably authentic and will never be a lie or fake, regardless of the familial ups and downs that have occurred subsequent to the film,” the pair said in a statement to People Thursday.
“We are as proud of the film today as we were when our amazing collaborators made the movie 14 years ago.”
They continued, “In the story of The Blind Side we saw the better angels of human nature. We saw it in the extraordinary courage that Michael Oher demonstrated in accepting the Tuohys’ generosity not as a handout, or as his saviors, but as a way through which he could improve his own life.”
“Michael’s academic accomplishments and athletic achievements demonstrate this. His raising of his own children now, who shall know a life of possibility the likes of which Michael never knew as a child, is the ultimate testament to Michael’s own strength and courage,” they added.
Johnson and Kosove said “no major studio” would make the film, leaving their production company to fund the $29 million budget.
The movie grossed $309 million worldwide following its release.
“The prevailing ‘wisdom’ was that a football movie starring a woman would not appeal to football fans, it had too much football to appeal to families, and that movies starring Black actors don’t work overseas,” they told the outlet.
“Our opinion was that it would appeal to everyone, and, in 2009, when this country, and the world more broadly, was more hopeful and less divided — it did.”
In a separate statement to Deadline, the pair said their production company paid about $767,000 to the talent agency that represented the Tuohys and Oher.
What we know about Michael Oher’s lawsuit against the Tuohy family
Former NFL player Michael Oher, the subject of the hit movie “The Blind Side,” claims Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy never officially adopted him.
According to court papers, the Tuohys tricked Oher into signing over the legal authority to use his name in business deals after he turned 18.
The 37-year-old alleged the Tuohys used their conservatorship to make millions in royalties from the 2009 Oscar-nominated film.
“The lie of Michael’s adoption is one upon which Co-Conservators Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy have enriched themselves at the expense of their Ward [Oher],” the legal filing said.
Sean Tuohy spoke out against the claims, saying the conservatorship was made to ensure that Oher was eligible to play football at the University of Mississippi.
Oher wants to end the Tuohys’ conservatorship and secure an injunction barring them from using his name and likeness.
He also wants an accounting of the money they’ve already earned off his name, a fair share of the profits, and punitive damages.
Earlier this month, Oher claimed in court documents that he was never actually adopted by the Tuohys and that the conservatorship he was in allowed the Memphis couple to retain legal power over him.
He claimed that the couple raked in millions from the film — which grossed $300 million at the box office –while didn’t get a cent.
He is now asking for a full accounting of the money earned off the use of his name a whopping 14 years since its release.
For their part, the Tuohy family has called Oher’s filing “hurtful” and “a shameful shakedown attempt” — claiming that Oher was well aware he had not been adopted.
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