In the spring of 1983, I was in my third year at Eastern Washington University when a Hollywood production company came to Spokane to film Vision Quest, the movie version of the Terry Davis book of the same name.
I was a pre-med student carrying a full academic load. I had been accepted into the athletic training program, and when I wasn’t in class, studying, or working with athletes, I was bodybuilding.
Shortly after the crew arrived in Spokane, a friend of mine told me about an audition that was being held at a local hotel. He said they were looking for a six-foot, muscular guy who could wrestle, and that I should go. After quite a bit of hounding on my friend’s part I decided to check it out.
I arrived at the hotel that day thinking I was trying out to be an extra - a guy who would just be in the background. It was not until I was given sides (lines to read) and introduced to Harold Becker, the director, that I realized I was auditioning for a major role.
After several more meetings, one of which included wrestling for coach Cash Stone, the consultant for the film, they had narrowed their search down to two guys, an actor from Hollywood and me, an unknown college student. The two of us then wrestled for the director, producers and crew. When the match was over I was offered the part of Brian Shute.
Working with a cast and crew of amazing professionals really helped a guy who had never acted before rise to the occasion. Mathew Modine, who played Louden Swain, is the nicest, most genuine and generous guy you’ll ever meet. Harold Becker, the brilliant director, taught me, guided and supported me – he seemed to understand that the only place I felt comfortable was on the mat.
Playing the character Brian Shute in the film Vision Quest has given me much more than the unique experience of being part of a major motion picture; it also created a turning point in my life.
My involvement in Vision Quest took me to California, which became my home. I met and married the love of my life, Sanda, who is my partner in both career and life. I completed my education in the healing arts, specializing in functional and sports medicine. Today I am part of a wonderful community of family, friends and colleagues.
It is both surprising and humbling that over the 30 years since its release, there are young wrestlers around the world who continue to be inspired by Vision Quest. To have been a part of such an enduring film continues to be a great honor.
In 2015 I was asked to attend a 30th anniversary screening of Vision Quest and be part of a Q & A with fans afterwards. It was at that time that Sanda and I decided to find a way to join the effort to help grow the sport of wrestling. Working in Holistic Health Care, we help people in their pursuit of health, fitness and wellbeing not just physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well. In a similar way, the sport of wrestling entails physical fitness while also building strength of character and integrity – a strong body and mind, steady emotions and an unwavering spirit. Recognizing the common threads in these very different pursuits, we decided to create Shute Shirts and make it more than just a place to get great tee shirts.
So besides the shirts that we designed, on this site you will find articles & interviews as well as photos from the movie along with recent photos from different wrestling events. In “Health & Training Tips,” I share with you what I have learned over the years since Vision Quest. Often there will be insights from Sanda as well. Her work in helping people become more empowered by overcoming their fears can be an important aspect in achieving success in any training program.
It is once again an honor and a pleasure to be reconnected with wrestlers and fans of Vision Quest everywhere!
Frank Jasper – aka Shute