Their professed preference for Nicolas Cage movies on a local quiz show has made four Brookline High School seniors an Internet sensation, and potential guests of the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” show.
But the seemingly spontaneous proclamation of their affection for the Hollywood star on WGBH’s “High School Quiz Show” last month was a bit premeditated, and only loosely based on a true story.
The buzz began when “Quiz Show” host Billy Costa asked members of the Brookline High School team to say what their favorite movies are.
In response, Benjamin Doughty said “Con Air,” Jonathan Eber said “Face/Off,” Vikram Mahadevan said the “National Treasure” franchise and Ben Eggleston said “Raising Arizona.”
All of the movies star Nicolas Cage, and the seemingly unrehearsed answers drew a chuckle from Costa and the show’s studio audience.
A clip of the bit was posted online by WGBH and then posted on You Tube by Brookline High School senior Joon Lee, whom the team has since unofficially named its vice chancellor of marketing.
“I was like: ‘This thing could go viral,’” Lee said.
He was right.
Within a day, the You Tube clip had been viewed more than 100,000 times, and by this Thursday more than 235,000 people had watched it. NBC’s “Today” show also broadcast the clip, and Lee said the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” show contacted him and talks are underway about flying the kids out to Los Angeles to appear on the late night show.
Tyler Wooley-Brown, the coach of the quiz team, said he has also heard that Cage has seen the video, though rumors that the movie star sent the kids flowers are untrue.
After school Thursday, the team confessed that they did have a heads up before the show that they would be asked to name their favorite movies, and that’s when they came up with the idea to each name something staring Nicolas Cage.
But the team members said their affection for the flicks is real, except for Doughty’s claim that “Con Air” is his favorite movie.
“I have to admit that I’ve never seen it,” Doughty said. “I’m going to, I just haven’t gotten to it yet.”
The teens joked that they’ve been getting more attention from girls and a few marriage proposals since their quiz show appearance. The fact that the Brookline team beat Marlborough’s Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School on the quiz show has faded a bit in the background. The Brookline team still has more appearances on “The High School Quiz Show” that were previously taped and will air soon on WGBH.
With all the hub-bub around the team’s first television appearance, Wooley-Brown said part of his job has been helping managing the kids’ expectations after their brush with fame.
“They are all really enjoying it, and they had a blast doing it,” he said.
--Brock Parker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org