Milius and Aaberg based their script on their own stories about Malibu, which in the film would be referred to as “The Point. ” All the main characters were inspired by real people, in particular surf legends Lance Carson and Kemp Aaberg and surfboard makers Hap Jacob and Dale Velzy.
Over the last 40 years, John Milius’ surf cult movie, Big Wednesday (1978), has made a mark on global popular culture.
Surf star Gerry Lopez, who would later appear as an actor in other films directed by Milius, played himself in the last sequence of the film.
The fictional “Bear surfboards” logo and t-shirts, originally created by the filmmaker as props for the film, went on to become a popular surf trademark owned by Milius himself.
The film is set in California between 1962 and 1974 and follows the lives of three surfers: Matt Johnson (Jan-Michael Vincent), a self-destructive local surf star, and his two best friends, Leroy “The Masochist” Smith (Gary Busey) and Jack Barlowe (William Katt).
In the late 1950s, Milius surfed regularly in Malibu, where he met Denny Aaberg, the brother of surf legend Kemp Aaberg and the future co-writer of Big Wednesday.
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