Following their successful collaboration on The Woman In Black, director James Watkins and star Daniel Radcliffe will eschew the sequel – currently in pre-production – and instead, go for Gold. Spandau Ballet fans need not apply, however, for this is a film about the epic rivalry that shaped British Athletics in the early eighties.
The fully authorized book, The Perfect Distance – Ovett & Coe: The Record-Breaking Rivalry by journalist Pat Butcher, has been adapted for the big screen by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), with Radcliffe cast as Coe. Hot on the heels of Ron Howard’s racing rivalry tale Rush, Gold will dramatize the competitive relationship between Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett – two British athletes that pushed each other to greater and greater heights in what is widely regarded as the golden era of the sport.
From polar-opposite worlds – one an art student with natural athletic ability, the other rigorously trained by his father from an early age – Ovett and Coe won a plethora of Olympic medals, and broke twelve of each other’s middle distance records between them. Both retiring from the sport in the early nineties, their paths once again diverged – former art student Steve Ovett, OBE moved into commentating in Australia, while Coe moved into politics, before successfully bringing the Olympic Games to London, and overseeing their spectacular success.
While Daniel Radcliffe is confirmed for the role of Coe – now Lord Coe, CH KBE – the role of his rival is yet to be cast. Further announcements on Gold should be expected soon, however, as production is slated to begin in April 2014, shooting principally in Russia and the UK.