Monday, 30 July 2007

Escape to Hollywood

It appears that, despite Los Angeles currently being in the grip of Beckham-mania, Hollywood has turned to rugby for the autumn's blockbuster movie.

Forever Strong is a film starring Gary Cole, Sean Faris, Neil McDonough, Sean Astin and Arielle Kebbel and tells the story of a talented-but-troubled rugby player who loses his position as the star of an Arizona rugby union team after he was sentenced to a boy's home in Salt Lake City and then finds himself playing again in the national championships against his old team who are coached by his father.

Now it's not for me to pre-judge anything before seeing it, and the movie is supposed to be based on a true story, but at first glance the plot looks desperately thin and decidedly unoriginal. On the plus side, if successful this film may mean that rugby gains more recognition in North America, whilst on the minus side movies about sport are notoriously difficult to make and action scenes featuring actors nearly always look ridiculously contrived (for some reason Stallone's goalkeeping in Escape to Victory springs to mind).

To combat the "Stallone-factor" it seems that the movie has drafted in various players from the University of Utah and Brigham Young University rugby teams to add authenticity. Assuming, however, that the end result will still be mostly unsatisfactory for the rugby purist, what this film really needs is cult status and to achieve that it should take a lead from the Escape to Victory manual and draft in an assortment of world rugby stars to play the supporting roles.

In the same way that Pele, Bobby Moore and Ossie Ardiles played Allied prisoners of war, so Jonah Lomu (who, let's face it, has time on this hands at at the moment) might, with a clean shave and a little imagination, just pass as a very mature high school student. Jonny Wilkinson will probably be available sooner rather than later owing to an early World Cup exit for England or due to an injury to yet another part of his anatomy, and I'm sure Gavin Henson's perma-tan would be an asset to any movie. Throw in Will Carling as a whisky-soaked local reporter, Matt Dawson as a cordon-bleu cooking, ballroom-dancing coach, Sir Clive Woodward as his innovative mad professor-style guru and Eddie Jones as Woodward's evil nemesis and this has all the makings of a classic.

And if all else fails, Stallone as a rookie tight head prop would be worth the ticket price alone.

1 comment:

Stuey said...

Christopher Lloyd could reprise his "Back to the Future" Doc Brown role in portraying Sir Clive Woodward!