ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

Chauncey Leopardi (Squints, from The Sandlot) talks 30th anniversary

Aug 4, 2023, 12:00 PM | Updated: 3:08 pm

Nathan Espinoza catches as Chauncey Leopardi, who played Squints in "The Sandlot," hits the ball on...

Nathan Espinoza catches as Chauncey Leopardi, who played Squints in "The Sandlot," hits the ball on the field where "The Sandlot" was filmed in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 20, 2013. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Starting today, a weekend-long celebration for The Sandlot’s 30th anniversary is happening here in Utah. The beloved baseball film holds a special place in many Utahns’ hearts, as it was shot in our very own beehive state.

To celebrate three decades of entertainment, eight members of the original cast are expected to come to Salt Lake City and watch the movie on the original baseball field on Aug. 5. 

 

In honor of this upcoming anniversary, the Movie Show hosts Andy Farnsworth and Steve Salles interviewed original cast member Chauncey Leopardi to dive into his character and The Sandlot. 

Check out the full episode below! Or, skip to 31:02 to hear the interview.

 

The pool scene

Among the many unforgettable scenes from the movie that have made their claim on pop culture, the pool scene is definitely one of the most notable. 

If you remember that scene you remember Leopardi, as his character Squints, getting CPR from the lifeguard Wendy Peppercorn (who’s been there every summer of his adult life) and then kicked out when he tries to make a move on her. 

GIFs and photos of Squints and his bulky black glasses exclaiming “I can’t take this no mo’!” have flooded the internet, staking its claim as a modern-day meme. 

Leopardi said people ask him if he’s tired of hearing that quote all the time. 

“And I tend to say that, you know, it’s been such a blessing in my life,” he explained. “I just enjoy that it’s so beloved and that people are so interested after all this time.”

As it turns out, it wasn’t just his character, Squints, that had a crush on the lifeguard. Leopardi (and a bunch of the other cast) had a crush on the actress Marley Shelton who played Wendy. 

“I mean, you know, we’re a bunch of teen and preteen boys,” he admitted. “(She was) the beautiful lifeguard and the leading female in the show.”

The scene was filmed in a pool in Ogden that Leopardi said was filled with water the day before. He also noted that it happened to be the coldest day of the summer.

“You can kind of tell in the scene that we’re all kind of freezing to death with our teeth chattering and stuff,” he said. “So it was definitely a cold memory, frozen in time, so to speak.”

“(The Sandlot) wasn’t a smash hit” 

When it was first released in 1993, the success of The Sandlot wasn’t a home run. Quartz reports that the movie grossed just over $30 million and wasn’t critically acclaimed.

Leopardi said ‘it wasn’t a smash hit or anything in those days.” But its popularity has grown since its debut.

“Over time, and in the last 10 years, especially, it’s kind of become like a pop culture phenomenon,” he said.

Enough of a phenomenon to get everyone together for a weekend of events, celebrating the movie and its impact on people from all walks of life — including major league baseball players.

“We did a Dodger game for the 25th anniversary,” Leopardi said. “Matt Camp came up to us. And he told us that that we’re the reason he played baseball.” 

“It’s cool to know that we look up to these guys,” he continued. “So they’re our heroes as well. And to know that we’ve had an impact on their life with this film and made people want to go outside and play ball … doesn’t get any better.”

Related: We asked what you consider a ‘classic movie.’ These are your picks

 

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Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

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Chauncey Leopardi (Squints, from The Sandlot) talks 30th anniversary