The Sandlot‘s 20th anniversary coverage continues here on The Reel Place. Last week I posted a travel log about the unforgettable event that I was privileged to cover here in Salt Lake City (which you can read here), as well as my interview with Chauncey “Squints” Leopardi (which you can read here); today I’ve got my interview with the youngest member of the cast, Shane Obedzinski.
Obedzinski played the younger of the two brother character in The Sandlot, Tommy “Repeat” Timmons. You’ll remember him as the little guy who repeated everything his older brother said – hence the on-screen nickname “Repeat.” I met Shane early in the morning while delivering my theatrical reviews on the Jon and Amanda Show on 101.5 FM The Eagle, but was able to speak with him one-on-one later in the afternoon at the Spring Mobile Ballpark prior to the big Sandlot event.
Luke Hickman: It’s good to see you again. In case you don’t remember, my name is Luke.
Shane Obedzinski: That’s right. You were there bright and early this morning at the radio station.
Luke Hickman: You got it. So what are you up to these days?
Shane Obedzinski: Well, I opened up a restaurant in Tampa, Florida – a pizza kitchen – and I’ve been doing that for about three and a half years. I’m the owner.
Luke Hickman: You’re keeping busy then.
Shane Obedzinski: Very busy. I stopped acting about four years ago and focused all on the restaurant. I do everything there. That’s my career right now, but I’ll get back into acting in a little bit.
Luke Hickman: Very cool. Now how old were you when you shot The Sandlot?
Shane Obedzinski: Ten.
Luke Hickman: As a ten-year-old, can you grasp the grandeur of what you’re actually doing when you’re shooting a film?
Shane Obedzinski: No. I knew that we were doing something good, I knew that we had a lot of fun doing it. When I saw it, I knew that it was a good movie because I liked it myself. In my early teens it started coming back and I said, “You know, this is something good that really is special. I wonder if it will stick around.” Now, 20 years later, I’m answering my own question. We’re here. We’re doing it.
Luke Hickman: I was talking with director David Mickey Evans earlier and we talked about how much of a pop culture phenomenon The Sandlot has become. It’s quoted just as much now as it has ever been.
Shane Obedzinski: David was also telling me that “You’re killing me, Smalls” has been named one of the most quoted movie lines in history – or something like that. The movie is full of memorable moments and memorable quotes. It’s crazy.
Luke Hickman: So it took a few years for that to catch up and sink in?
Shane Obedzinski: I grew up a little and in my early teens it was still a huge part of my life, so I said, “Let’s watch it again.” And, you know, I said, “This could be it, man.” In my late teens, early 20s, it was a little different – a little more distant. But over the last two or three years leading up to this moment, I’m reliving it all again. It’s unbelievable.
Luke Hickman: The great things about the film is that has been passed along from one generation to the next. Like the quote from the movie, it’s a legend.
Shane Obedzinski: David said it best – it’s being handed down from generation to generation. It really could last forever. I know that’s cliche, but it could.
Luke Hickman: Do you still get recognized – especially at the restaurant?
Shane Obedzinski: What’s funny is that I do, now and then. It stayed with me once or twice a week. Two or three weeks ago, Sports Illustrated came out with a “Where Are They Now” piece and that brought it all back to me. I was 11-years-old again. Everyone is coming in – Florida, Georgia. Everyone wants to live it again.
Luke Hickman: That’s cool.
Shane Obedzinski: It’s unreal. It’s amazing.
Luke Hickman: Do you have any memorabilia up in the restaurant?
Shane Obedzinski: You know, it’s funny you ask – my mom found a hat from 20 years ago, a Sandlot hat – one of the first press things, merchandise, that we got. She’s wearing that right now. (Shane points over to his very nice mother.) We were given some really nice leather jackets back then. It’s awesome. There’s lots of stuff.
Luke Hickman: There are two Sandlot events happening here in Salt Lake City. Are these ones deemed the “big ones” because the film was shot here?
Shane Obedzinski: It’s the biggest one for us, because this is where it all came together. This is where it was born. For us it’s the biggest one. People-wise, Dodger stadium will be the biggest one. They’re saying that if that one goes down as planned, it will be a frenzy – possibly a national event.
Luke Hickman: That’s awesome! I want to be at that one!
Shane Obedzinski: But this one means the most to all of us.
Luke Hickman: Shane, thanks for you time. I really appreciate it and I’m excited to be here celebrating The Sandlot with you.
Shane Obedzinski: No – thank you.