Matthew first read the script while camping and says he felt an immediate connection to the story. "It was the first script I've ever read in 12 years that [after] one read from beginning to end, I shut it and said, 'I've got to be a part of this somehow,'" he says.
Playing Jack Lengyel—a father, husband and football coach—also helped Matthew feel closer to his own father. Matthew's dad Jim, who passed away in 1992, once played for the Green Bay Packers.
Matthew says he channeled his father throughout the film, especially in an emotional scene where Jack speaks to the new team at the gravesites of those killed in the crash. "A coach of kids in college is sometimes a father figure...sometimes needs to give you a swift kick in the butt, sometimes needs to give you some tough love," Matthew says. "You've got to handle each individual differently when [they're] kids because you're more of a teacher than a coach. I got to know my pop real well through this."