Principal photography began today in the Santa Monica Mountains near Los Angeles on Columbia Pictures' Gridiron Gang, a drama inspired by real-life events, under the direction of Phil Joanou.

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and MTV's "Pimp My Ride" host, Xzibit, star in a story based on actual events about the creation of a football team within the confines of a juvenile detention camp. The film, written by Jeff Maguire, is based on a documentary by Lee and Linda Stanley. It is produced by Neal H. Moritz and Lee Stanley, with Shane E. Stanley and Michael Rachmil serving as executive producers.

Gridiron Gang tells the uplifting story of detention camp probation officer Sean Porter (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson), who creates a high-school-level football team from a ragtag group of dangerous teenage inmates as a means to teach them self-respect and social responsibility. He is joined in this experiment by co-worker, Malcolm Moore (Xzibit). But Porter must first overcome almost universal resistance from the powers that be -- his skeptical bosses and coaches at rival high schools who don't want their players mixing it up with convicted criminals on the football field.

Based on the Emmy Award-winning 1993 television documentary by Lee and Linda Stanley, the film chronicles the rise of the Camp Kilpatrick Mustangs as they bond together to achieve the impossible: a chance to play in their league's championship game. Much of the film will be shot at Camp Kilpatrick, using the same playing fields and detention quarters of the original Mustangs.

Gridiron Gang is produced by Neal H. Moritz (The Fast and the Furious, S.W.A.T., Stealth) and Lee Stanley (The Champion and television's "Desperate Passage"). Shane E. Stanley ("No Code of Conduct", "A Sight for Sore Eyes") and Michael Rachmil (A Cinderella Story and the upcoming Rumor Has It) are the executive producers.

Other key contributors include director of photography Jeff Cutter, costume designer Sanja Hays and art director Floyd Albee.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.