Feeling Driven: Former Lion returns to Joplin as part of documentary

For the first time in more than 20 years, Cord Newman found himself under the Friday night lights of a football field.

In May, Newman – an actor and stuntman – made a late-evening stop at Missouri Southern’s Fred Hughes Stadium with a documentary crew in tow to shoot footage as part of a new project. While he only played for the Lions for one season in 1995, he said his time at MSSU was a formative period.

“It wasn’t a very long run, but it’s one that has impacted me every single day,” he said. “I was incredibly thankful to meet people like (then assistant football coach) Dan Scheible, and I also made the best friend I’ve had since I was 17 while here.”

Newman, who made his first on-screen appearance as an extra in the 1998 film “There’s Something About Mary,” has had a lengthy career working in the stunt industry. His credits include “Bad Boys II,” “2 Fast 2 Furious,” “Transporter 2” and “Miami Vice.” He helped set a record in 2006 for the world’s fastest couch on the MTV series “Call to Greatness.”

“We shortened the frame of a Chevy pickup and put a Barcalounger over the rear axle and moved the steering back there,” he said. “We also added two loveseats and a big entertainment center. We got it up to 93 mph on a landing strip at the El Toro air station.”

His most recent appearance on screen came in the movie “6-Headed Shark Attack,” which debuted last month on SyFy.

Newman is one of the founders of the International Film Fund, which will donate half of the proceeds from its projects to programs promoting cancer research. The documentary is one of their first efforts.

“We’re taking a cross-country drive – from Daytona Beach, Fla., to Long Beach, Calif. – to see the heart and soul of America,” he said. He and his crew made the stop in Joplin after filming at Graceland in Memphis, Tenn. He was having some repairs made to his Ford Mustang Shelby GT350, and thanked Joplin’s Frank Fletcher Ford for making another car available for the footage they shot at Missouri Southern.

“It was real Midwestern hospitality,” said Newman.

The documentary project has already attracted interest from several distributors, he said.

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