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Hoosiers (1986)
Starring Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, and Dennis Hopper
based on the true story of the 1954 Milan High School basketball team
Reel Face: Real Face:
Gene Hackman
Born:

January 30, 1930
Birthplace: San Bernardino, California, USA
Marvin Wood
(Norman Dale in the film)
Born: January 21, 1928
Birthplace: Morristown, Indiana, USA
Died: October 13, 1999, South Bend, Indiana
(lymphoma)
Maris Valainis
Born: 1963
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Bobby Plump
(Jimmy Chitwood in the film)
Born: 1936
Birthplace: Pierceville, Indiana, USA

'In Milan, people didn't look at us as if we were something special. We were just part of the community. The only way I knew we were special was when the motorcycle policeman revved up his motorcycle and took us through all those red lights.' - Bobby Plump on winning the 1954 Championship (1995 Teacher Magazine Interview)



Is the name of the championship team really the Hickory High Huskers?
No. The championship team on which the Hoosiers true story is based is actually the Milan High School Indians. There is no town of Hickory in Indiana.Was the Coach really a middle-aged man?
No. The real Coach of the championship team, Coach Marvin Wood, was only 26 when Milan won the title. His counterpart in the movie Hoosiers, Coach Norman Dale, was

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played by Gene Hackman who was 55 when the movie was being filmed. Screenwriter Angelo Pizzo said the following about keeping the Coach in the movie the same age as his real life counterpart, 'I wrote it that way and the movie didn't work. If he had failed, he still had the rest of his life. I went back and made the character older, a guy with a last chance.' At the time of the actual championship, Coach Marvin Wood had been a recent graduate of Butler University, where he played both baseball and basketball. At Butler, Marvin played on two Hoosier Classic championship teams (1947-48 and 1948-49) when Butler defeated both Indiana and Purdue in the same tournament.
Was the Coach really hired to replace a former Coach who had died?
No. In the film, Coach Norman Dale is hired to replace a well-liked Coach who dies. The team's star player, Jimmy Chitwood, refuses to play for part of the season because he's so upset. In real life, Coach Marvin Wood was hired the previous season to replace Coach Herman 'Snort' Grinstead, who was fired for ordering new uniforms against the superintendent's orders. In an ESPN interview, Bobby Plump (the real Jimmy Chitwood) said that Coach Grinstead was 'the most popular coach in Milan's history.'
Was it really the Coach's first season with the team?
No. As stated above, it was Coach Wood's second season with the Milan Indians. He actually took them to the semi-finals the previous year. During his second year, which is what the film depicts, the town was no longer skeptical of his new strategies for offense and defense. The town was behind him. This is opposite to what is shown in the movie, where a community referendum is held to determine the Coach's fate.
Did the team's star player really sit out half the season, upset over the previous coach's death?
No. The Milan Indians star basketball player, Bobby Plump, played the entire season. Although the former Coach was well liked, he did not sulk over the firing (not death) of the previous coach, Herman 'Snort' Grinstead.
Did a romance really develop between the Coach and a teacher?
No. In the movie Hoosiers, a budding romance forms between Coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) and teacher Myra Fleener (Barbara Hershey). In real life, Coach Marvin Wood was married with two children (pictured left). He was not romantically involved with a teacher from the school. Coach Wood's wife, Mary Lou, often worried aloud, 'If a basketball and I were placed at half-court, which one would he choose?' Rick Paridaen, a friend of the family, believes the answer would easily have been Mary Lou, the real love of Marvin's life. The film's romance was an element of fiction added by screenwriter Angelo Pizzo, whose other work includes the script for the 1993 football drama Rudy, also based on a true story.
Was Dennis Hopper's character based on a real life assistant coach?
No. Dennis Hopper's character of 'Shooter', who is the town drunk and father to one of the players, is entirely fictional. It is a little ironic (or maybe not so ironic) that this fiction-based performance resulted in an Oscar nomination for Hopper, which was the only acting nomination that the film received (Hoosiers was also nominated for Best Original Score). In real life, Marc Combs and Clarence Kelly were the assistant coaches. Neither of them were drunks.
Did the real Coach wear a shirt and tie to practice?
No. In the movie, Gene Hackman's Coach Dale is a hardliner who runs his drills in a shirt and tie. Coach Marvin Wood was much more soft-spoken and often suited up and played with the team during practices.
Had the real life Coach been previously fired from coaching for punching one of his players?
No. The somewhat volatile Coach Dale in the movie had been fired from coaching on the collegiate level for punching one of his players. In real life, Coach Marvin Wood had never been fired for punching a player. Screenwriter Angelo Pizzo based Gene Hackman's outspoken Coach Dale partially on Indiana University's legendary coach, Bobby Knight. 'I wondered what would happen if Knight punched a player,' says Pizzo. Many who knew the real Coach have stated that Coach Marvin Wood was much more soft-spoken than his onscreen counterpart. Coach Wood often said of his championship squad, 'God was coaching that team, not me.'
Was the real school so small that it could only field six players for the team?
Not entirely. Similar to the fictional Hickory High in the film, it's true that there were only 161 students enrolled at the real school (Milan High). However, unlike in the movie, 58 of the 73 boys at the school tried out for the basketball team. There were 10 players on the Milan team in 1954, not six.
Did the real-life Coach practice the philosophy of four passes before a shot?
No. Hoosiers screenwriter Angelo Pizzo based this fictional element on Indiana University's coach, Bobby Knight. 'I utilized Knight's offensive philosophy: four passes before a shot,' says Pizzo.
Did the team's manager really hit two free throws to win a game in the semi-finals?
No. The movie shows the team's manager, 'Ollie,' coming on to the court to hit two free throws to win a semi-final game. Milan's manager, Oliver Jones, stayed on the sidelines and never shot any game winning baskets. The only real similarity with the movie's character is the name.
Did Milan really win every game in the tournament with a final second shot?
No. In the movie, Hickory barely squeaks by its opponents in the state tournament, winning each game with a last second shot. In real life, Milan won seven of its first eight tournament games by double-digit margins. Milan's 1954 tournament record is posted below. They were 19-2 in the regular season.
In real life, did the Coach really measure the height of the hoop where the state finals were going to be played?
Yes. Coach Marvin Wood measured the height of the hoop at Butler University's enormous Hinkle Field House, where the 1954 state finals were played (and where Wood himself played in college). Coach Wood did this to 'cast out their fear' by illustrating to his players that although the field house was much larger than their hometown gymnasium, everything about playing basketball was the same. Rev. Daniel Motto spoke of this moment at Wood's funeral in October of 1999, saying that when he saw this scene in the movie Hoosiers, it was then that he realized the film was truly inspired by Wood.
Were the final game scenes in the movie shot at the actual field house?
Yes. The scenes for the final game in the movie were shot at Butler University's Hinkle Field House, which was where the real life events behind the Hoosiers true story unfolded. The filmmakers could not find enough extras to fill the field house. Therefore, in order to give the large arena the appearance it was full, 1,000 extras had to be moved around the arena. Filling Hinkle Field House was not a problem for the actual 1954 game. The arena was filled to the rafters, and tickets were being scalped outside for as much as fifty dollars.
Is the announcer at the final game in the movie the real 1954 announcer?
Yes. The announcer at the championship game in the movie, Hillard Gates, is the real life announcer who did the 1954 championship game.
Did the team really win the championship in 1952, coming out of nowhere?
No. In the movie Hoosiers, the Hickory Huskers emerge from nowhere to win the title. In real life, the Milan Indians won the title in 1954 not 1952, with a 19-2 regular season record. The Indians had made it to the semi-finals of the state tournament the year before, after the 1952-53 regular season. They were however, often considered underdogs because of their small school size of 161 students.
Was the championship game won 42-40 against the South Bend Central Bears?
No. The real championship game was won 32-30 against the Muncie Central Bearcats. Like South Bend from the movie, the Muncie Central Bearcats were a powerhouse team from a much bigger school.
How much of the championship game played in the movie is accurate?
Not much. In real life, Coach Wood ordered a stall twice during the final quarter. Milan's star player, Bobby Plump, literally held on to the ball, without moving, for 4 minutes, 13 seconds, before taking a shot (and missing) with a few minutes still left on the clock. On Milan's next possession, Plump again stood stationary with the ball as the clock ticked down from 1:18 to 0:18. In 1987, Milan star Bobby Plump told the Saturday Evening Post, 'The final 18 seconds were the only thing factual in the movie about the Milan-Central game. From the time the ball was in bounds after the final timeout, the movie was accurate.' This includes Plumps thrilling game-winning shot.
Did the star player really convince the Coach that he should take the final shot?
No. During the final timeout, with the score tied near the end of the movie, Hickory's star player, Jimmy Chitwood (Maris Valainis), is told by the Coach that he'll be a decoy while the team runs its 'picket fence' play, where a fellow teammate will take the last shot. The teammate, who is uncertain of himself, looks to Jimmy, prompting Jimmy to say with confidence to his Coach, 'I'll make it.' In reality, Coach Wood told Bobby Plump to take the final shot all along. 'I was a very shy kid,' Bobby Plump told the Washington Post in 1995. 'I never would have said, 'I'll make it.' ' Pictured at left is a photo of Plump's famous shot going through the basket at Hinkle Field House.
What is a Hoosier exactly?
Hoosiers is the nickname of Indiana University athletic teams. Webster's dictionary defines the word Hoosier as 'a native or inhabitant of Indiana'. In 1919, historian J.P. Dunn revealed that the word Hoosier came from the Cumberland dialectical term hoozer, which means something large or big, literally a big hill. This origin is referenced in Webster's, but it is believed by some to be false, since Hoozer did not appear in a Cumberland dialect word list until 1899. This is well after the first recorded usage of the word Hoosier in the US. In 1826, the word Hoosier appears in the June 2 edition of the Chicago Tribune: 'The Indiana hoosiers that came out last fall is settled from 2 to 4 milds [sic] of us.' This early usage suggests that the term may have been used to describe an uneducated, rural yokel, a rustic. The word was later adapted to mean someone from the state of Indiana. In Europe, the movie was renamed Best Shot, because most Europeans were unaware of the word Hoosier and its relation to Indiana and Indiana athletics.
Who was the producers' original choice to play Coach Norman Dale?
The original choice for Norman Dale was Jack Nicholson. He backed out due to a scheduling conflict, telling the producers that if they couldn't find another actor to play Dale, he would do it the following year. Robert Duvall also passed on playing Coach Dale. Gene Hackman then stepped in to take on the role.
Did all of the actors on the team have high school basketball experience?
Not quite. Surprisingly, actor Maris Valainis, who portrayed the movie's star player, Jimmy Chitwood, was the only actor on the Hickory team who hadn't played basketball in high school. Valainis was only 5-foot-6 as a teenager, and he got cut three straight years from his high school basketball team. For the scene where his character Jimmy shoots baskets while he listens to Coach Dale (Gene Hackman), Maris Valainis said that he 'wasn't even listening to him. I was just concentrating on making them and I made one and they kept going in.' Today, the Hoosiers actor is a golf pro at Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course in Irvine, California. He has a 1-handicap.
What happened to the Coach after winning the championship?
Marvin Wood continued to coach basketball until 1999, the year of his death. At the time of his resignation, the 70-year-old Wood had been busy coaching his granddaughter's seventh-grade basketball team. He stopped after he learned that bone cancer, which had been in remission for more than seven years, had returned. Wood is survived by his wife Mary Lou, their daughter, Deidra, and three grandchildren. He was elected to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971.
What became of Milan star Bobby Plump?
After high school, Milan star Bobby Plump (Jimmy Chitwood in the movie) played basketball for Butler University where he became a 4-year letter-winner, MVP his junior and senior years, and one of the NCAA's best free throw shooters of all-time. After graduating from college, he played three years for Phillips 66 of the National Industrial Basketball League. Plump eventually took on a career operating a life insurance and financial consulting business for nearly forty years. He opened a restaurant called Plump's Last Shot, located in the Broad Ripple area of Indianapolis. It is filled with memorabilia from the 1954 state championship team. His book, Last of the Small Town Heroes, was published in 1997. It is available on the right.
Did any members of the original team have cameos in the movie Hoosiers?
Yes. 1954 Milan Indian Guard, Ray Craft, has two cameos in the movie. He is the person who greets the Hickory Huskers when they arrive at the state finals. He is also the person who tells Coach Dale (Gene Hackman) before the state final, that it is time for his team to take the court. In real life, Ray grew up to become the assistant commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association.
Why was there so much fiction injected into the movie Hoosiers?
Hoosiers screenwriter Angelo Pizzo summed up the film's heavy dose of fictionalization by saying that the added drama was necessary, 'because their lives were not dramatic enough... The guys were too nice, the team had no real conflict.' Angelo Pizzo is a Bloomington, Indiana native and the college roommate of fellow Indianian and Hoosiers director David Anspaugh. The two had often talked about making a movie 'about the meaning of basketball to people in Indiana.'
1954 Milan Indians Team Photo:
The photo below opens in a separate window. The following text identifies the individuals in the team photo. Front row, from left: team manager Oliver Jones; cheerleaders Marjorie Ent, Virginia Voss, and Patty Bohlke; and team manager Fred Busching. Middle row: Assistant Coach Clarence Kelly, Roger Schroder, Bill Jordan, Gene White, Bobby Plump, Ken Delap, Ray Craft, Coach Marvin Wood. Top row: Principal Cale Hudson, Assistant Coach Marc Combs, Ken Wendlman, Bob Wichman, Ronnie Truitt, Glenn Butte, Rollin Cutter, Bob Engle, Superintendent Willard Green.
Click to Enlarge the 1954 Team Photo
Link-to-Learn More:
South Bend Tribune Coach Wood Remembered Article
Actor Maris Valainis (Jimmy Chitwood) 1994 Interview
Hoops Hoosiers Hollywood Home - Interview with Screenwriter Angelo Pizzo [pdf]
Milan School District Website - Features 1954 Season & Post Season Record
Milan '54 Museum with Historical Photos and Information
USA Today Article about Life in Milan Today (with a where are they now section)
Watch the Hoosiers Movie Trailer:
- SPLYCED


2-Disc Collector's Edition DVD


The Greatest Basketball Story Ever Told: The Milan Miracle



Hoosiers Movie Poster



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Questioning the Story:

Was Philippe paralyzed as the result of a paragliding accident?

Yes. The Upside true story reveals that the real-life paragliding accident happened in the Savoyard reliefs of Mont Bisanne in the Swiss Alps in 1993 when Philippe was 42. He had been distracted by thoughts of the workers he had laid off and hadn’t been paying enough attention to what he was doing. As a result, he crashed. Philippe remained in the hospital for two years before he was able to go home. At the same time, his wife was dying of cancer.

Despite being paralyzed in a 1993 paragliding accident, it didn't stop Philippe Pozzo di Borgo (right) from returning to the skies in the years after his crash. Bryan Cranston (left) recreates the moment in The Upside movie.

Was Philippe really a wealthy American businessman?No. Philippe Pozzo di Borgo was not an American businessman. In exploring how accurate The Upside movie is, we discovered that Philippe is actually a wealthy French aristocrat. He is the second son of French duke Pozzo di Borgo and his wife the Marquis de Vogüé. He was born into a life of privilege and abundant wealth, growing up in castles and manors. This contradicts the movie, in which the character states that his father gave him nothing and that he earned every penny. As an adult, the real Philippe worked as the director of the Pommery champagne house located in Reims, France.
Founded in 1858, the Pommery is an Elizabethan-style estate constructed to facilitate the production and distribution of champagne, which is stored in its 18 kilometers of interconnected underground wine cellars that were dug into the chalk quarries beneath the property. In addition to selling Pommery Champagne, the estate also houses an art installation. -Champagne Pommery Website
As implied above, the true story behind The Upside unfolded in Paris, not Manhattan like in the movie.

How old was Philippe when the accident happened?

Wealthy Corsican French businessman Philippe Pozzo di Borgo was 42 when he became a quadriplegic after a 1993 paragliding accident.

Actor Bryan Cranston in the movie (left) and his character's real-life inspiration, Philippe Pozzo di Borgo (right), pictured in the years following the accident. He uses the joystick by his chin to control his power wheelchair.


Had Philippe's caretaker really been in jail?

Yes. 'I'm disabled, but he is also a little bit disabled,' said Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, the real-life individual on whom Bryan Cranston's character is based. 'In his case, he was socially very disabled, coming out of jail, basically. So, he has a problem. I have to understand his problem, and once we both understand each other's problem, then we are in a very close confidence relationship.' Abdel Yasmin Sellou, who inspired Kevin Hart's character, was a career criminal from Algeria who had been in prison for nearly two years. His name was changed from Abdel to Dell for the movie. -The Intouchables Premiere Interview

Fiction
What had the real caretaker been in prison for?'I was doing black-market work,' Abdel Sellou told The Telegraph. This “black-market work” included stealing from tourists on the streets of Paris, which is eventually what landed him in jail (Mirror Online). Learn more about Abdel's past and his life-changing experience with quadriplegic Philippe Pozzo di Borgo in his memoir You Changed My LifeFiction.
Read Abdel Sellou's book 'You Changed My Life' in which he shares his story of caring for quadriplegic Philippe Pozzo di Borgo.

Ppt
Did Abdel really have no interest in being a caretaker at first?

The Upside true story confirms that Philippe's ex-con caretaker, Abdel Sellou, only applied for the job so that he could get government support, which required him to be employed. His counselor had encouraged him to apply for the position. At the time he was hired, Abdel was 21 and Philippe 42. Similar to the movie, he was given a private apartment in Philippe’s home. Abdel had no intentions of sticking around long helping a disabled person and his ailing wife. Abdel even stole a Faberge egg during his job interview.


Is Nicole Kidman's character, Yvonne, based on a real person?

Yes. As indicated by the photos at the top, Nicole Kidman's character in the movie, Yvonne, is based on Philippe Pozzo di Borgo's real-life female assistant, Laurence Landouc'h (pictured below, right). The affection and budding romance between Yvonne and Bryan Cranston's character in the movie is fictional. In his memoir, Philippe never mentions that their relationship was anything more than professional.

Nicole Kidman's character (left) in The Upside movie was inspired by Philippe Pozzo di Borgo's female assistant, Laurence Landouc'h (right).

Why did the real-life Philippe hire a recently paroled convict to care for him?'At the time, I was coming out of two years of hospital, intensive care and rehabilitation, and [Abdel Sellou] was coming out of nearly two years of jail,' recalled Philippe. 'And my wife was very sick and had a few months left to live, and we were both on our bed in bad shape. I need a guy crazy enough not to be afraid of the situation. He's afraid of nothing at all, and very strong, available, and extremely generous. So he was the best person we could imagine.' Philippe described Abdel as his 'guardian devil.' -The Intouchables Premiere Interview
Did Philippe really interview 90 people before hiring Abdel as his caretaker?

Yes. After interviewing around 90 people, like in the movie, Philippe knew immediately that Abdel was the one. 'This is the guy I need,' Philippe recalled in an interview with The Telegraph. 'I don't give a damn that he is out of jail. I needed him. And he became a friend afterwards.' Philippe said that the fact that they were both on the fringes of society, he a disabled person and Abdel a criminal, created a common bond between them. Like in The Upside movie, they also shared a similar sense of humor. 'He didn't feel sorry for me,' said Philippe. 'He was irreverent, cheeky and had an outrageous sense of humor' (Mirror Online).

Kevin Hart in The Upside movie (left) and Philippe's real-life caretaker, Abdel Sellou (right), pictured in the 1990s.

FactDoes Kevin Hart physically resemble Philippe's real-life caretaker?

While both men are short with relatively square faces, Philippe's real-life caretaker, Abdel Sellou, is an Algerian Muslim, not a black American. Like his onscreen counterpart, Abdel was indeed hot-tempered and accustomed to solving disputes with his fists, something that he has since given up. -The Telegraph
One of nine children, Abdel says that he was “the devil” of his family from an early age. At 4, he was sent to Paris to live with relatives. By age 10, he was stealing and trying to extort his schoolmates. It didn’t take long for his run-ins with the police to begin and he eventually dropped out of school. He spent his time coming up with ways to steal from the tourists who roamed the streets of Paris.


Had the real caretaker been a deadbeat dad when he was hired by Philippe?No. In answering the question, 'How accurate is The Upside movie?' we learned that unlike Kevin Hart's character in the film, there is no record of the real caretaker, Abdel Sellou, having any children when he was hired by Philippe. One reason that Philippe hired him in real life was because he was available 24/7.

Kevin Hart's character's son Anthony (Jahi Di'Allo Winston) is fictional.

When did Philippe's wife die?

After a long battle with cancer, Philippe Pozzo di Borgo's wife Béatrice died in 1996, roughly three years after his paragliding accident. This means that in real life, Philippe's first wife was alive for almost three years after his caretaker, Abdel Sellou, was hired in 1993.


Was the real Dell a reckless driver?

Yes. 'What I can tell you is that he drove like mad,' said Philippe at the premiere of The Intouchables, the blockbuster French movie on which The Upside was based. 'He had no idea how to handle a car at 200 kilometers an hour, which he did drive with no permit, of course no driving license, for ten years. So, that's one stupid thing I accepted from him.'


Did Philippe and Abdel do all the crazy things together that are shown in the movie?Many of the wild things that Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart's characters do in the movie were inspired by the real-life exploits of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and his caretaker Abdel Sellou. Together, they made a game of speeding through Paris in Philippe's Rolls-Royce until the police pulled them over. Abdel would then explain that the reason they were speeding was because Philippe was having a seizure. Not only didn't they get a ticket, the police would escort them to the closest hospital.
Another thing Abdel did was have Philippe's wheelchair modified so that it was capable of going as fast as 9mph, with Abdel riding on the back like Kevin Hart's character does in the movie. The chair had a wing mirror and an onboard computer that allowed Philippe to execute a variety of tasks, including opening windows and using his phone.
'I suddenly found I was enjoying life again,' says Philippe, 'feeling like I didn’t know what was coming next.' -The Telegraph
Left: Actors Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston. Right: Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, the inspiration for Bryan Cranston's character, and his caretaker Abdel Sellou, the basis for Kevin Hart's character Dell.


Did Abdel trim Philippe's beard into a Hitler mustache?

No. In real life, Abdel didn't play a trick on Philippe by trimming his beard into a Hitler mustache prior to going on a date.


Was Philippe's caretaker really a womanizer?Fact Vs Fiction

Yes. In researching The Upside true story, we learned that Abdel was indeed a womanizer. After his time working with Philippe came to an end, he did settle down and got married. He now operates a poultry farm in Algeria and has three children who call Philippe their 'uncle.'
'Back then I would not even have asked those questions about settling down,' says Abdel. 'I was just interested in women as the equivalent of fast food. I'm now settled, squeezed into my new life, but I am still a man and I tell it loudly, which people don't usually. I still like women.' -The Telegraph


Did Abdel really get Philippe to smoke a joint?Yes. 'That was true,' says Philippe. 'He said it would help me. In fact, it doesn't help. It takes away the pain and puts me to sleep for two hours, but I wake up feeling tired. First time I tried it I was 48.' -The Telegraph

Top: Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and his caretaker, Abdel Sellou, share a moment of levity during an interview. Bottom: Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart's characters bond in the movie.

Does Philippe live with a lot of pain even though he's paralyzed from the neck down?

Yes. The pain we see Bryan Cranston's character endure in the movie is very much based on the real Philippe's constant battle with pain. 'Phantom pain my ass,' says Philippe. 'It's very real. It's a neurological pain. Scalding and corrosive. Constantly on fire. I cry because I am in actual pain, not because I'm sad.' -The Telegraph


Did Philippe try to commit suicide?

Yes. As he explained in his memoir A Second Wind, he tried to commit suicide once in 1993 by wrapping his oxygen tube around his neck and jerking backwards. 'It is quite common this reaction, when the pain gets too bad. I attempted it because I felt guilty that I was going to be a burden on others who had to look after me,' said Philippe. 'It was unbearable because I was always in charge and then all of a sudden I was dependent, especially on a wife who was ill.' Philippe says that he no longer thinks about suicide. 'I would be very sad if I had succeeded in killing myself 19 years ago, because I have enjoyed the 19 years that came after that,' he told The Telegraph in 2012.

Read Philippe Pozzo di Borgo's book 'A Second Wind' to learn more about both his life before the accident and his life-changing friendship with his caretaker, Abdel Sellou, after becoming a quadriplegic.

Did the streetwise Abdel really learn to appreciate fine art like Kevin Hart's character does in the movie?No. While he never stopped making fun of the fine art (paintings) that Philippe admired, Abdel did take a liking to some of the classical music Philippe listened to. In turn, Philippe learned to enjoy some of the pop music that Abdel liked. This is emphasized in the movie as we see Dell (Kevin Hart) humming along to The Marriage of Figaro and Phillip (Bryan Cranston) jamming to Aretha Franklin.

Top: Philippe (center) is pictured with his assistant, Laurence Landouc'h (left), and his caretaker, Abdel Sellou (right). Bottom: Actors Nicole Kidman, Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart portray the trio in The Upside movie.

Is Philippe a religious man?

Yes. Philippe Pozzo di Borgo is a Christian. Though not included in The Upside movie, Philippe has a strong faith and even had a small chapel included when he had his house built. -The Telegraph


For how many years did former convict Abdel Sellou care for Philippe Pozzo di Borgo?

Abdel Sellou, who is renamed Dell and portrayed by Kevin Hart in the movie, worked as Philippe Pozzo di Borgo's caregiver for ten years. “According to [his memoirs], I have changed his life,' Philippe stated. 'That may be true, but in any case, what I am certain of is that he changed mine.” -Mirror Online

Top: Philippe Pozzo di Borgo's caretaker, Abdel Sellou, lifts him into a car. Bottom: Kevin Hart's character does therapy with Phillip (Bryan Cranston) in the movie.

Have any other movies been made about Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and Abdel Sellou?Yes. The Upside is largely based on the 2011 international hit The Intouchables, which is one of France's biggest box office successes. That film led to other retellings of their story around the world, including the 2016 Argentinean movie Inseparables and an Indian film titled Oopiri (2016).

Fact Vs Fiction Coronavirus

Did Philippe remarry?

Yes. In the decades after he lost his first wife Béatrice to cancer, Philippe remarried, tying the knot with a Muslim woman named Khadija. He met her while on a trip to Morocco with Abdel, who also met the woman he would marry. 'Abdel and I finished our collaboration when we both found our soul mates,' said Philippe. 'We finished our time together without sadness or difficulty.' -Le Figaro.fr
Philippe and his wife have three daughters; two are hers biologically and the other they adopted. He moved from France to his wife's home country of Morocco where he currently resides. -The Telegraph

Philippe Pozzo di Borgo with his second wife, Khadija.

Philippe and Abdel Documentary & Related Videos

Fact Vs Fiction Rocketman


Peer deeper into The Upside true story by watching the documentary below that focuses on the relationship between Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and Abdel Sellou.