ROCK HILL — Lights. Camera. Action.
An independent film crew from New York City, headed by actor/director/producer Fisher Stevens, has been in town working on a documentary centered around South Pointe's Jadeveon Clowney, the nation's No. 1 high school football recruit.
The crew has filmed Clowney in class; in the cafeteria; playing basketball against Fort Mill; sitting in the stands during girls basketball games signing ESPN magazines that feature him on the cover; and other places.
Many folks have been interviewed. The crew has found that even though Clowney is 6-foot-6, 255 pounds, he's a down-to-earth teen who likes to smile and cut up with his friends, flirt with the ladies and write poetry. He is also proud to say that he made A's and B's the first semester of this school year.
"And I'm going to do it the second semester,'' Clowney said. "Grades are important and I've worked hard in class to improve them. All this attention, the writers, the movie people, the TV people, it's nice and good for our school.
"But I want it to be over; sign my scholarship so I can get on with my school and my senior year. The attention is good because it helps our other football players and athletes get seen. This is about all of us.''
Stevens and Kelly Hefner, the documentary's producer, did not realize just how big football recruiting has become until they met Clowney, who will announce his decision on Monday.
Clowney could have signed on Feb. 2, but decided to wait until Monday, his 18th birthday and Valentine's Day. He says it's his Valentine's gift to his parents, Josenna Clowney and David Morgan. It will also provide the finishing touches to the documentary, which will be shown in movie theatres across the nation.
"This is not just a documentary about Jadeveon and football, but he is our central focus,'' Hefner said. "It's about people who have had to make life-changing decisions, such as the one he will make concerning where to go to college.
"I would say when we finish, we will end up with four or five people on our finished product. We have been around the world talking with people, but Jadeveon will be the person we base our film on.''
Hefner said the crew has traveled to Egypt, Israel, Ireland, France, Africa and several other locations for filming and interviews. They will be back in Rock Hill on Monday to film Clowney announcing his decision.
Stevens will not be back. He's busy in New York directing his latest venture, a one-man Broadway show, "Ghetto Klown,'' starring John Leguizamo.
Acting was Stevens' first choice. He's been in 47 movies, five made-for-TV movies, 27 television series and has directed or produced 30 movies. He won an Oscar in the best documentary category for "The Cove'' in 2009.
His most memorable movie role was that of scientist Ben Jabituya in the two "Short Circuit'' movies. He was also in five episodes of the hit TV show, "Lost.''
Hefner said the documentary, which is untitled, will be shown first at the Toronto (Canada) Film Festival in the late summer of early fall, where a general release date will be determined.
Editor's note: Byers, The Herald's assistant sports editor, was interviewed for the documentary featured in this story.
Barry Byers 329-4099