From the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda depicted in Rush to the tension between the Jamaicans and the smug Swiss team in Cool Runnings, some of the greatest sports movies ever made feature great players squaring off against one another.
Easily the greatest sports rivalry ever committed to film was the fiery antagonism between Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy as they went head-to-head as Seekers to compete for the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup, engaging in furious enmity both on and off the pitch. Obviously some of the dramatic tension was assuaged by the fact that Malfoy is a terrible Seeker who wouldn’t have made it onto the Slytherin team if his father hadn’t bought him a place… not that we’re taking sides or anything.
Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has since been enjoying a fairly healthy career with plenty of diverse roles to help him shed his former child star status, and according to Deadline he is now set to join the world of muggle athletics. Radcliffe will reunite with The Woman in Black director James Watkins for Gold: a sports drama about Olympic athlete Sebastian Coe and his rivalry with fellow athlete Steve Ovett.
The script by Will Davies (How to Train Your Dragon) is based on Pat Butcher’s book “The Perfect Distance,” which covers the years in the 1970s and 1980s during which the two runners were competing directly with one another. At the Moscow Olympics in 1980, Coe and Ovett both won gold medals in each other’s specialities, and both athletes have broken running records over the course of their careers.
When Rush came out we listed some other racetrack tales that could make for great sports dramas, and with so many sporting enthusiasts out there it’s almost certain that Gold will find an audience, if only a niche one. Last year’s fictionalized Olympics-based drama Fast Girls mostly passed under the radar, though that might have had something to do with the filmmakers not being allowed to use the word “Olympics” anywhere in the script or on the screen due to trademark issues.
The ultimate titan of running movies is still Chariots of Fire, and probably will continue to be so for a while, but Gold sounds like an interesting project with some decent talent involved. Of course, the next big question is who will play Steve Ovett, as chemistry between the leads is going to be a major factor for this movie. Any suggestions?
We’ll keep you updated on Gold as the project develops.