Jake Gyllenhaal to Star in Joe Namath Biopic
Plans to prep for role by shaving legs, harrassing Suzy Kolber.
Variety reports that Universal has tapped Gyllenhaal to play Joe Namath in a biopic to be scripted (post-strike, natch) by David Hollander. From the article:
When Namath emerged from Bear Bryant's football program at the U. of Alabama, the upstart American Football League was the stepchild to the powerhouse National Football League. Sonny Werblin, who'd left MCA after the Justice Dept. broke up Lew Wasserman's company, knew the value of star power and was determined to use it when he bought the Jets. He outbid the NFL, paid Namath a record $400,000 salary and turned him loose on New York. The handsome nonconformist became a sensation, on the field, in nightclubs and on Madison Avenue as the first star to become a magnet for commercials.
After backing up his guarantee that the Jets would beat the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, Namath put the AFL on equal footing with the NFL, paved the way to a merger and helped establish football as a TV sport. He accomplished all of this on knees so bad that draft board doctors refused to send him to Vietnam for fear that they would give out on the battlefield.
"Most of the stuff you saw in 'Forrest Gump,' Joe lived through all of it," said Jimmy Walsh, who first met Namath on the Alabama campus and has worked with him ever since. They witnessed the struggle for civil rights in Alabama, the sexual revolution and Vietnam.
The project's lack of a script won't be an issue for some time -- Gyllenhaal is currently filming Jim Sheridan's Brothers, and has an untitled Doug Liman project lined up next.