Las Vegas Sun

July 15, 2019

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Academy Award winner writing script for movie on UNLV’s Jerry Tarkanian

Jerry Tarkanian

Las Vegas Sun

UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian talks with guard Eric Booker duing a game in 1983.

Jerry Tarkanian

UNLV players Moses Scurry, left, and Anderson Hunt hug coach Jerry Tarkanian after their 103-73 victory over Duke in the NCAA Final Four Championship game, April 2, 1990, in Denver. Launch slideshow »

An Academy Award-winning screenwriter and producer is finishing up a script for a feature-length film on legendary UNLV basketball Coach Jerry Tarkanian, his son Danny said on Nevada Newsmakers.

Shawn Christensen, who won an Academy Award for best live action short film for 2012’s “Curfew,” will meet with the Tarkanian family soon to review the script, Danny Tarkanian said Thursday.

“He has spent over a year writing the script,” Tarkanian said. “He is just finishing it now. He is coming to Las Vegas in a couple of weeks to show to it to my mother and the rest of our family.”

Jerry Tarkanian led UNLV to the NCAA national championship in 1990 and enjoyed a career that spanned five decades, including 31 seasons at three colleges. He died in 2015 and is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The film, however, will not be a standard biography.

It is the story of “the transformation of Las Vegas” while Jerry Tarkanian took his Runnin’ Rebels to national acclaim at UNLV from 1973 to 1992, his son said.

It’s too early to speculate about who might play the famous coach, his son said. He said Christensen has talked about some people “who are really big, but I don’t want to even mention names.”

Danny Tarkanian, who was an all-state quarterback at Bishop Gorman High, was expected to play football at UNR but instead played basketball at UNLV for his father from 1981 to 1984. The Rebels won 24 consecutive games and were ranked No. 1 in the nation during his sophomore year.

He is now a Republican candidate for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District.