Now, The Huffington Post is exclusively releasing director Cameron Crowe’s explanation for how he came up with the iconic line of dialogue. (The description is part of a video extra featured on the 20th anniversary edition Blu-ray release of the movie.)
In the short clip, Crowe claims that he was interviewing the then professional football player Tim McDonald when the Phoenix Cardinals star said the now famous line to him. As Crowe sets the scene:
There was one guy that I interviewed very early on, his name was Tim McDonald and he played for, at the time, the Phoenix Cardinals. And he was there with his buddy and his buddy was watching CNN “Moneyline.” [McDonald] had one eye on “Moneyline,” too.
And he just said, “I’ve gotten my butt kicked for five years. My contract is finally up. And I’ve told my agent one thing ...
At this point in the clip, actor Cuba Gooding Jr. is shown filming the memorable scene, shouting, “Show me the money,” as the character Rod Tidwell. In “Jerry Maguire,” Tidwell played for the Arizona Cardinals (the team changed their name from the “Phoenix Cardinals” for the 1994 season).
The clip then returns to Crowe, who adds, “A little chill went through me because I just knew that was such a defining thing for him. I couldn’t get the line out of my head.”
Through the course of spending more time with McDonald, Crowe decided that the meaning of the line wasn’t greed, but necessity. “He’s not greedy at all,” explains Crowe. “He’s just got a few more years left where he can get paid for what he does [and needs to support a family] ... I just thought, that’s a hero.”
Watch the full clip below, which also features Tom Cruise filming the scene in his agent character’s office.
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