In 1988, Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards became the first to represent Great Britain as a ski jumper in the Winter Olympics. Though he held skiing records in the UK and internationally, his rise to compete in the Olympics with no funding is considered by many to be one of the all-time great underdog stories.
20th Century Fox is set to release a biopic based on Edwards’ journey to the Olympics, appropriately titled Eddie the Eagle. An international trailer for the film has now been released (see above), with Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) as Eddie and Hugh Jackman as his coach.
Part underdog drama and part comedy, the film tells a somewhat fictionalized account of Edwards’ attempt to become an Olympic athlete. As shown in the trailer, Edwards appeared clumsy and wore thick Coke-bottle glasses to correct his farsightedness. Though he came in last place in both of the Olympic events he competed in, he became somewhat of a folk hero because his ascent to the Olympic stage – and the way he overcame conflicts with other British athletes – made him much more relatable than other Olympic athletes.
Edwards says he’s been told “only 10 to 15%” of Eddie the Eagle is actually accurate to how the events played out. He admitted that he hadn’t seen the script when he made that comment, but didn’t seem resentful of the fact that poetic license was used on his story; he reportedly made several visits to the set during production, and has said that he was anxious to see how he was portrayed on the screen. One of the biggest liberties taken in the movie is the inclusion of Jackman’s character; Edwards admits that he couldn’t afford a coach when he was training.
The film brings to mind similar underdog movies, especially Cool Runnings; the comparisons between that film and Eddie the Eagle are especially strong since they both deal with first-time Winter Olympics competitors. Eddie the Eagle seems to have a lot of the same heart as that film, and the main character seems even more relatable. Even with it only being loosely based on the actual skier’s life, it still looks like it’s going to be an enjoyable movie with a main character that audiences can relate to and root for.
Eddie the Eagle even manages to subvert the “underdog who comes from behind to win it all” trope that so many of these films have, so moviegoers who are sick of that twist may be pleasantly surprised with this movie. The overall message seems to be that it’s ok if you don’t win, so long as you try and have fun doing it. That might actually make Edwards more relatable, and will let this film serve as a reminder that ordinary people can do extraordinary things… and even if they don’t win it all, that’s okay.
Eddie the Eagle opens in U.S. theaters on February 26th, 2016.
Source: 20th Century Fox