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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Sunday, 10 March, 2002, 14:14 GMT
Big screen jump for Eddie the Eagle
Eddie Edwards
Edwards' Olympic failure ensured he became a celebrity
Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards' bungling efforts at the 1988 Winter Olympics are to be immortalised on film as Hollywood buys up the rights to his life story.

The former British ski jumper won the hearts of spectators around the world for his courage to enter the sport despite his lack of ability.

He finished a resounding last in the event at the Calgary games but his personality and "never say die" attitude dominated the headlines.

I hope the film will show that for me getting to the Olympics was the greatest thing

Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards
Now Los Angeles-based Saville Productions plans to turn his tale into a blockbuster with the appeal of underdog movies Rocky and Cool Runnings.

Edwards is delighted his life will be up there on the big screen and has his fingers crossed the likes of Hollywood heavyweights Robert Carlyle, Ewan McGregor or even Brad Pitt play will play him.

Producer Rupert Maconick sees the role as more suited to Austin Powers actor Mike Myers or Notting Hill's Rhys Ifans.

Full Monty

He regards it as "triumph-over-adversity" movie which will have worldwide appeal.

"We're very excited at the prospect of doing a very funny Full Monty-style comedy about a plucky British underdog achieving his Olympic dream," he said.
Brad Pitt
Edwards fancies Brad Pitt to play him

Edwards is studying for a law degree at De Montford University in Leicester.

He said: "Most of the film will be based on how I started out and the problems I had getting money for the sport.

"I had no job and no financial support and lived in a country with no snow where the nearest ski-jumps were a thousand miles away.

"So it'll be about how I got through all of that to make it to the Olympic Games."

He will perform some of the ski jumps for the film, effectively starting a new career as a stuntman.

Mr Maconick is in talks with film studios and financial backers and hopes to begin filming in Europe in 2003.

'Gold medal'

All the talk before the 1988 games was of the brave Brit who wanted to represent a country not usually associated with ski jumping.

Eddie Edwards
Edwards recorded one of the lowest jumps ever
And despite failing to make even the tiniest impression in terms of distance jumped, his failure only endeared him to the crowds more.

Edwards added: "I hope the film will show that for me getting to the Olympics was the greatest thing. That was my gold medal - even though I came last.

"I really wanted to portray that it's a sporting event and what matters is getting there and taking part."

See also:

16 Jan 02 | Other Skiing
Eddie the legal eagle
16 Jan 02 | Front Page
Losers win hearts
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