My All American, the latest dramatic sports biopic, tells the tragic true story of University of Texas football legend Freddie Steinmark. The film, which is directed and written by Angelo Pizzo of Rudy and Hoosiers fame, had its Austin premiere Wednesday.
We had the opportunity to talk with Sarah Bolger, who plays Freddie’s longtime girlfriend Linda Wheeler in the film. See what she has to say about playing a real person, about the future of her character, Aurora, on ABC’s Once Upon a Time, and her new gig on Into the Badlands.
You play Linda Wheeler in the film, who was the real-life, longtime girlfriend of legend Freddie Steinmark. What was your favorite part of becoming Linda?
Sarah Bolger: I actually loved that she is a real person. She lives today. She’s going to watch this movie and see me play her. That was sort of mind-blowing to me. Linda Wheeler is the most amazing person. She was able to talk to me about so much of her past. Not only does she have a fantastic memory, but it takes a really strong woman to talk about the heartbreak that went on in her youth. So I was very grateful for everything that she was able to tell me and help me create my character.
Did you get to talk to Linda often?
Bolger: I never met her in person. I thought that was really important. I didn’t want to mimic her, I wanted to embody her the best I could. So, we spoke on the phone for hours as I walked across the UT campus. It was great.
What really stood out to you about this film?
Bolger: I think it’s a heartwarming story. It’s an important story because he was real. He was really this great human and this exceptional player, so I was just very proud of this story.
I have to ask: can we expect to see your character, Aurora, again on Once Upon a Time?
Bolger: They won’t tell us anything! They’re never done with characters – they always bring them back!
Tell me about your new show, Into the Badlands.
Bolger: It premieres on Sunday [November 15], and it’s a martial arts drama. It’s very cool. It comes on right after The Walking Dead.