The 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta have been a font for unintentional comedy. These were the Olympics that gave us the gold medal winning Brian Boitano (now best known as a provider of life lessons to the South Park boys) and the Jamaican Bobsled Team, forever immortalized in the Jon Turteltaub-directed cable mainstay, Cool Runnings.
But my favorite story of the 1988 Winter Olympics was Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, a doughy, near-sighted ski jumper who represented Great Britain much to the International Olympic Committee’s chagrin. Even though he finished dead last in both the 70-meter and 90-meter events, Edwards’s physical shortcomings – and fear of heights – turned him into a media darling. His relative-to-the-competition ineptitude suddenly became inspiring; as with the Jamaicans it was the daring, can-do attitude that captured the public’s imagination. The appeal was one of "If we were to enter this competition with no experience, we’d do this shitty, too!"
Cool Runnings exploited this feeling in the guise of a stand-up-and-cheer entertainment; Steve Coogan, on the other hand, might take a different approach with Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards. As Coogan told The Guardian, "His story is a very British story, and he is a very British kind of hero. When I read the story, I found it funny but, more surprisingly, quite moving. Quirky, dysfunctional, slightly nerdy, but his balls must be made of titanium." Let’s face it: we don’t get many movies about guys with titanium balls these days. And, while we’re here, what would be the purpose of titanium balls? Would these be regular balls with a protective titanium plating or solid, to-the-core titanium balls?
I don’t expect Coogan to explore this conundrum in his biopic, but I also don’t expect him to go the bland, Danny Deckchair route either. Sean Macaulay, whose name calls up a whole lot of nothin’ when Googled on its own or in connection to Coogan, has written the screenplay. British TV vet Declan Lowney will direct.