Thursday, 8 November 2007

Hooray for Hollywood

With the movie “Forever Strong” now apparently in post-production, it seems that rugby and Hollywood are to continue to be unlikely bedfellows as plans are evolving to produce a movie about South Africa’s hosting the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the birth of the “rainbow nation.”

Apparently, Warner Bros is in talks to co-finance "The Human Factor," based on John Carlin's book "The Human Factor: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Changed the World."

With Clint Eastwood attached as director and Morgan Freeman seemingly committed to play Nelson Mandela, it looks as if rugby is now getting some heavyweight treatment from the Hollywood establishment. Even the entirely inappropriate plan to cast Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar (seriously!) shows some intent (if not judgement) from the producers.

Now I realise that Mandela is a truly iconic figure and that the 1995 Rugby World Cup played a pivotal role in bringing the rainbow nation together, but I can’t help feeling Hollywood is missing a trick by not focusing instead on the intriguing possibilities offered up by the story of the dramatic turnaround of the England rugby team at the 2007 Rugby World Cup. They could bring the Yoda puppet out of mothballs to play Brian Ashton (with a voiceover by Coronation Street’s Bill Tarmey) and Eastwood himself would probably the right age to take on the role of disgruntled veteran Lawrence Dallaglio. Just think of the dialogue opportunities:
Dallaglio: “Go on punk, make my day”

Ashton: “Sit on the bench you will”

Another story that’s been doing the rounds for some time now is that pensioner-loving Catherine Zeta-Jones is planning to make a rugby-based movie set in South Wales. The movie, entitled “Coming Out” is said to feature (and I know that this will come as a huge surprise to you all) a guest appearance from none other than our favourite tango man Gavin Henson, who will appear as himself. Zeta-Jones has apparently said of the film:

"I grew up among rugby fanatics - the film is very close to my heart. It's about a gay teenager from a little town in Wales who goes to London to pursue musical theatre. His father dies and leaves him the local rugby club in his will. He's doing West Side Story and has to go back home to get these fat, drinking, smoking Welsh guys into shape to win the rugby tournament."

Sounds plausible then! For the sake of authenticity I can only hope and pray that Matt “only gay in the village” Lucas is to be offered the lead role.

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