There are certain rules for playing an athlete in a movie (Photo by Complex.com)
I’ve developed a foolproof system for determining whether or not any actor is an acceptable choice to portray an athlete in a film. I call it "the Space Jam rule."
Don’t let Hoosiers or Rudy purists tell you otherwise: Joe Pytka perfected the sports movie genre with his 1996 gem, Space Jam. It’s so obvious that I’m not even going to waste this space making such an argument (but when we launch our NBA site in a few months? That’s another story).
You know what makes Space Jam so iconic? Michael Jordan’s legendary performance as Michael Jordan. With ANY other NBA star, that movie fails. There’s no way Karl Malone, Shaquille O'Neal, Gary Payton, or anyone else from that era could beat an entire team of All Stars with Lola Bunny as his top running mate. I mean, for God’s sake, MJ scored 44 points on 100% shooting. That’s not a typo. This really happened!
Here’s my point. You’re not convincing me that this is possible with anyone else. Therefore, if they were ever to make a remake of Space Jam, I would not buy it unless the player chosen to replace Jordan could actually make me believe that he could do the same things. In today’s game, that is a list of one: LeBron James. If you remake Space Jam with Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, or anyone not named LeBron James, it’s simply not believable. With this logic, the Space Jam rule states that for an actor to play an athlete in a movie, he must have the same level of skill and sports clout as the athlete.
Let’s apply this rule to the brewing Unitas We Stand controversy. In case you don’t constantly follow the going’s on of Joe Flacco’s life, he’s going to play Johnny Unitas in an upcoming film about the greatest quarterback you’ve never seen play. As the Unitas family religiously follows everything I write, they’re understandably upset about this development. You know, because he’s Joe Flacco.
According to the Space Jam rule, does Joe Flacco have the clout to play Johnny Unitas? Hell no! It’s been five years and I’m still not completely comfortable with Flacco even playing in the same city as Unitas.
John Unitas Jr. suggested Peyton Manning. This wouldn’t work either, as Unitas was vocal in his objections when the Colts moved from Baltimore, so picking an Indianapolis legend would be insulting to his legacy. But he brings up a good point. Manning has the clout to play Unitas.
So, let’s say Manning isn’t an option. Are you telling me Tom Brady wouldn’t jump at the chance to play a legend? Or Aaron Rodgers? Hell, why not match a legend with a legend by bringing Brett Favre back to the silver screen. It is only for football scenes after all; he’d be a glorified stunt double. His southern drawl wouldn’t ruin the film like it has so many Hattiesburg press conferences. Point is, there’s no shortage of options available here.
But apparently, the only prerequisites for playing the father of modern NFL quarterbacking are a Super Bowl ring and a Baltimore address. Maybe they should have given Trent Dilfer a call.
By: Sam Quinn