Jake Gyllenhaal Will Play Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath
Last year Mark Wahlberg played football rookie Vince Papale, two years before that Kurt Russell played Hockey coach Herb Brooks, and now this year Jake Gyllenhaal will play the famous football quarterback Joe Namath. Gyllenhaal just signed onto the currently untitled feature film about Namath's life that was "OK'd" by Namath himself. David Hollander (TV's "The Guardian", "Heartland") will write the script once the writers strike has finished. A director hasn't been announced yet.
The 64-year-old Hall of Fame quarterback himself approved of the movie after a strong pitch from screenwriter Hollander and a belief that the athletic Gyllenhaal was the right actor. The producers had been pursuing approval from quite a long time.
While other quarterbacks racked up bigger lifetime stats, Namath became the first football player to achieve rock-star status. The movie will tell the story of how the golden-armed kid from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, became "Broadway Joe," the New York Jets quarterback who became a '60s cultural figure. "Most of the stuff you saw in 'Forest Gump,' Joe lived through all of it," said producer 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.
Namath played for 11 years with the New York Jets, from 1965 to 1976, and was the first to pass more than 4,000 yards one season. You can read up on all of his stats on his biography at Pro Football Hall of Fame.
There's just something about this movie and Gyllenhaal coming in to play Namath that makes me think it will be really good. The reason why I mentioned Wahlberg and Russell in the first sentence above is because they did a phenomenal job playing two real life sports "icons" and I have a feel Gyllenhaal will be added to that list, too. I'll definitely be looking forward to this, especially when they choose a director!