Cameron Crowe Talks 'Jerry Maguire,' Origins and Sequels

Last night, 60 Minutes aired a piece on superagent Drew Rosenhaus and mentioned that he was the main inspiration for "Jerry Maguire."

Tom Cruise as Jerry Maguire
Tom Cruise as Jerry Maguire

The topic has been long debated and, thanks to the wonders of Twitter, the film's director Cameron Crowe (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Almost Famous) chimed in after I suggested it was modeled more after agent Leigh Steinberg than Drew.

"Original idea was inspired by a magazine photo (of late agent Gary) Wichard and The Boz (Brian Bosworth)," Crowe responded.

I then asked him who he had in mind when shaping who Jerry Maguire became.

"Leigh (Steinberg), (San Francisco 49ers safety) Tim McDonald, Drew & Mac Bledsoe, Jim Ursay and so many others opened doors," Crowe wrote. "But Maguire was pure fiction, as was (his nemesis Bob) Sugar."

Wanting to ask more, I sent a couple of questions to Crowe via direct message and we continued on with the Jerry Maguire talk.

Many in the sports biz industry think Jerry Maguire was good for the industry, others think it was bad. The good is it showed how ruthless the industry was, how hard it was. The bad was it made everyone want to be a sports agent. Your thoughts?

Crowe: Great question. I think anything that shows the real human struggles behind the scenes of any institution is ultimately a good thing. Hopefully the movie showed the giddy highs and brutal lows of the industry and how it always comes down to personal relationships — wife, agent, family — all are together living and dying on every play.

I talk at colleges around the country and the amount of kids wanting to be agents is astounding. Did you think Jerry Maguire would be a deterrant or serve as an impetus for impressionable young kids to say, "I want to do this?"

Crowe: Not surprised kids say, "I want to do this." Cruise as Jerry, like Drew in media appearances, exude a kind of rock star electricity.

I know you're not in the day to day biz like I am, but do you have a sense how if anything, the agent biz has changed since Jerry?

Crowe: I know that the business hasn't gotten LESS ruthless! The thing I'm most grateful for, thanks to the movie, is that it turned out funny and a little emotional too, which was what I got from so many of the players like Tim McDonald. All were very generous with their time. And what they wanted in return was "a little truth up on the screen." Hope we gave them that. Props to Leigh (Steinberg, who was a consultant on the film) for sure, as well.

Was there ever an interest in a Jerry Maguire 2?

Crowe: Nope, don't really believe in sequels. As for the future, I have an idea on where Jerry might be now, but I'll leave it at this. Jerry and Marcee Tidwell always exchange the best Christmas cards of the season. I always thought those two understood each other.

Questions? Comments?