As Michael Oher’s legal battle regarding the blockbuster movie “The Blind Side” intensifies, more people from the former NFL player’s past are casting doubt on the Hollywood portrayal of his life story.
A new CNN documentary, “Blindsided,” looks into the perceived inaccuracies in the 2009 film, which earned Sandra Bullock an Academy Award. Among those interviewed by CNN were Oher’s foster brothers Nate and Quwanda Hale, who said the level of financial hardship that the athlete experienced was greatly exaggerated for the film and that his home life prior to being taken in by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy was vastly different from the way it was depicted on-screen.
The two men took particular issue with a scene in “The Blind Side” in which Oher (played by Quinton Aaron) is settling into his new bedroom at the Tuohy home, telling Leigh Anne Tuohy (Bullock) that he’d never had a bed of his own.
“Part of the restrictions to being in foster homes, you had to have your own space,” Nate Hale said, according to People. “You didn’t necessarily have to have your own room, but even though [Quwanda and I] were biological brothers, you still had to have your own beds.”
Added Quwanda Hale: “That video is depicting something that didn’t occur.”
Michael Oher with the Carolina Panthers in 2016. The depiction of his early years, before becoming a star college player, in the movie "The Blind Side" has come under question, with a new CNN documentary looking into the controversy.
Also interviewed for the CNN film was Oher’s high school friend Quenterio Franklin, who admitted he walked out of a screening of “The Blind Side” when it was in theaters.
After being shown a scene that suggested Oher was unable to read or write, Franklin said he was “embarrassed” for his pal: “He would never do anything like that.”
“The Blind Side” was based on Michael Lewis’ 2006 book of the same name. Directed by John Lee Hancock, the movie was a critical and commercial hit, but in the years since its release, it has been criticized as an example of the “white savior” trope.
In August, Oher ― who played for the Tennessee Titans, the Baltimore Ravens and the Carolina Panthers before retiring in 2017 ― filed a lawsuit alleging that the Tuohys, a white family that took him into their Memphis home when he was 16, never legally adopted him, as depicted in the film.
Actor Quinton Aaron, who portrayed Michael Oher in the 2009 film, with co-star Sandra Bullock in 2013.
He also accused the couple of tricking him into signing papers that made them his conservators and then using their power to make millions off of his story.
In September, a Tennessee judge ended the conservatorship between Oher and the Tuohys. The financial dispute over profits from the movie, however, continues.
Aaron, meanwhile, has defended the movie, though he acknowledged that he was unable to consult with Oher regarding his performance during filming.
“Hopefully it doesn’t get to a point where people boycott the film, because I think this film is bigger than the family,” the actor told “Entertainment Tonight” in August. “I think it’s bigger than the actors ― the message and the amount of good it has done over the years speaks to another level of motivation.”
Watch the trailer for “Blindsided” below.