- Director:John Stockwell
- Writer:John Stockwell
- Cast:Jeff Daniels,Jena Malone,Paul Sorvino
- Time:1h 48min
|Cast overview, first billed only:|
|Jeff Daniels||-||Dr. Gerard Plecki|
|Jena Malone||-||Jolie Fitch|
|Paul Sorvino||-||Constantine Kiamos|
|Luke Edwards||-||Darius Bettus|
|Blake Heron||-||Matt Kur|
|Dov Tiefenbach||-||Irwin Flickas|
|Dan Warry-Smith||-||Paul Kurgan|
|Anna Raj||-||Agnieska Maryniarczyk|
|Dominik Podbielski||-||Dominik Wesolowski|
|Ned Eisenberg||-||Robert Clifford|
|Robert Joy||-||Larry Minkoff|
|Lenka Peterson||-||Mrs. Plecki|
|Alex Poch-Goldin||-||Jerry Marconi (as Alex Poch Goldin)|
|Karen Glave||-||Corrine Davis|
|Marcia Bennett||-||Joan Isenberg|
The real-life Jolie Fitch, who was played by Jena Malone, was interviewed by the press in 2000 (at the time of the release of the movie), noting that she had dropped out of college because she was pregnant. She now works at a department store in the suburbs of Chicago.
The film is based upon the events of the infamous Steinmetz Cheating Scandal that took place at the Illinois Academic Decathlon State Championship in 1995, in which the real-life Dr. Gerald Plecki and his seven students did lose to Whitney Young High School at the Regional Decathlon Championship but mysteriously won the State Championship. Later the students were accused of cheating by the State Decathlon Committee, the Department of Education, and Whitney Young (which lost to Steinmetz at the competition). It was eventually discovered that the students did cheat, although several of the students to this day maintain that they did not.
The real-life Dr. Gerald Plecki was paid a consulting fee during the film's production.
During filming, director John Stockwell and his production crew discovered that they were prohibited from entering the real-life Steinmetz High School just to film on location in the building. Therefore, even though they were unwelcomed and uninvited on the campus grounds, they managed to film the outside front of the building. Most of the filming took place inside a Toronto high school, which was used in place of the real school.
Director John Stockwell and the film's producers hired a private investigator to track down the real Dr. Gerald Plecki. It took nearly half a year to convince Plecki to sell his rights and become involved in the production.