Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky has directed two movies in the last few years (Black Swan and The Wrestler) that ended with the protagonist making a noteworthy jump or fall to the ground. Now, the Oscar-nominated storyteller is lining up to work on a biopic about a man who’s known primarily for jumping and falling.
Aronofsky, who also directed Pi, Requiem For a Dream, The Fountain and Noah, has also long been drawn to the stories of men (and occasionally women) doing extreme things, whether it’s heroin addiction, interstellar travel, ballet, wrestling or taking direction from God to build an ark. Hence, it’s fitting that his next film may be a project that focuses on a titan of extreme sports, known for jumping his motorcycle off of mountains and over rivers.
Yes, Aronofsky is reported to be circling a biopic about the legendary stuntman Evel Knievel, with Channing Tatum lined up to star. Tracking Board was the first to break the news, while sites like THR have since confirmed that Aronofsky is in talks to direct the project – currently titled Pure Evel. The previous script draft put together by Tatum’s writing/producing partner, Red Carolin (who penned both Magic Mike & Magic Mike XXL) is now undergoing a full-blown rewrite by Oscar-nominee Scott Silver (8 Mile, The Fighter).
The film had been in development for awhile at Sony Pictures, with Peter Berg (Lone Survivor) having been lined up to direct at one point, meanwhile, Tatum has expressed his interest in making a Knievel movie since as far back as 2012. This is the first major feature film about Knievel, although there have been various documentaries made about him over the years – including, the Johnny Knoxville-produced Being Evel, which toured the festival circuit earlier this year and came out back in August.
An Evel Knievel movie made with modern filmmaking technology is such a no-brainer that it’s surprising it hasn’t been made already. Knievel was a larger-than-life cultural figure in the 1970s and ‘80s, one of the more colorful celebrities of his time. A movie about him promises wonderful period costumes, facial hair and other details, as well as many, many impressive bike stunts, no doubt. Aronofsky, much moreso than Berg, seems like the better match for this material (think Rush from the director of Black Swan).
Tatum isn’t exactly a physical match for the stuntman – Knievel was never that muscular, or handsome for that matter. Nonetheless, the actor has shown range before in movies like Foxcatcher, another true story-based period film in which Tatum played an athlete. Just don’t be surprised if the movie ends with Evel falling from some great height… even though (spoiler?) Evel survived every one of his falls.
Pure Evel no release date yet; we’ll keep you updated on its development as more details are made available.