The Winter Games in Vancouver begin in three months, and Stephen Colbert recent announcement that his Colbert Nation would sponsor the U.S. Speedskating team sprinkled the first flakes of Olympic spirit. Consider it a blizzard. At least in my house. That’s because the red-headed stepchild of the Harry Potter franchise, Rupert Grint, is reportedly the choice to play British ski-jumper Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards in a long-in-the-works biopic.
A little background: Back at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Edwards, a bespectacled English plasterer with relatively no athletic training finished dead last in the ski-jump. But his jumps were nevertheless riveting since his every attempt was a potential “agony of defeat” video clip. Ski-jumping officials did their darnedest to keep him out of the competition — for his own safety. Somehow, “the Inspector Clouseau of ski jumping” survived to bask in more than 15 minutes of fame, appearing on Johnny Carson and recording an atrocious single, “Fly, Eddie, Fly.”
In my New Jersey home, the redundantly named yokel was the highlight of the entire games and quickly became synonymous with our own half-baked attempts to defy gravity and common sense. Jump from the trampoline into the tree? Eddie the Eagle! Scale the brick-faced school building after hours? Eddie the Eagle! He was the original Jackass.
Clearly, I could not be more excited about an Eddie the Eagle movie. Steve Coogan was original mentioned as a candidate to play Edwards, but I’ll settle for Grint. It’s the perfect opportunity for the 21-year-old actor, who couldn’t ask for a better project to segue out of Harry Potter. The best part about the role is that it requires absolutely no athletic training. Just slap on the skis and have someone shove you down the slope, Rupe. Method acting at its most daring.
Do you recall Eddie’s soaring “leaps” at the 1988 Olympics? Did you prefer his antics to the Jamaican bobsled team’s? Do you think Grint is ready to headline a film, and if not, who would you rather see in the Eagle’s skis?