Lorne Rubenstein has a column in today’s Globe on the proposed Moe Norman biopic that has been championed by Barry Morrow since, well, at least when Moe win his last Canadian CPGA Seniors. Okay, maybe not quite that long, but you get the sense of where I’m coming from.
In fact, as far as movies go I think only Watchmen has had so much discussion before actually being made. It has been a decade since Morrow completed the screenplay for the proposed film, and Rubenstein’s column suggests the film will actually finally happen this summer at a cost of $10 million. It doesn’t matter that Morrow, according to the Internet Movie Database, has done little for almost two decades. Apparently this is the start of a comeback. I can actually hear the words of Entourage’s Ari Gold when discussing Morrow:
“I mean, Lloyd, back in the day this guy was something else,” Gold would explain breathlessly. “But he’s been buried longer than Jimmy Hoffa.”
In truth, Rubenstein says some of the details are now in place:
The actor who will play Moe has yet to be determined, while Morrow could have a director in place by next week. The film will have a budget of approximately $10-million (U.S.), and is being co-produced by Morrow, and BellTower Entertainment, based in Los Angeles with offices in Toronto and Shanghai. The intent is to film in Canada, starting this summer. Financing is in place.
The actor who plays Moe is, of course, of singular importance.
Among the actors we considered a few years ago were Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heath Ledger, Morrow said.
Yes, you read that correctly. Heath Ledger. Funny how Ledger’s star has risen so much since his slightly seedy death. But did Morrow really need to float the name of Heath Ledger? Hate to break it to you guys, but aside from being dead, he was a little too much of the good looking side of the equation to play the oddly shaped Norman. Unless, of course, this is a completely revisionist history. Philip Seymour Hoffman? An interesting choice who picks quirky films. Maybe.
But read what is written here — there’s supposedly financing in place, but no director and no star and the film is supposed to start production this summer.
Top this all off with the fact that most golf films are awful. Caddyshack and Tin Cup aside, there are some real clunkers out there, including Bagger Vance, which features some of the worst acting by two big name stars — Matt Damon and Will Smith — in the history of cinema. And don’t get me started on The Greatest Game Ever Played its lead, the truly untalented Shia LaBeouf. Did we really need the cameras becoming the golf balls and the awful sound effects to capture a remarkable point in the game’s history?
To say I’m not holding out hope that we’ll see this movie is probably a fair take. And I’m actually more worried about what might actually see if the film is made. If they were serious about casting Ledger as Norman, then I envision a real reworking of history here, with Norman, notorious for sleeping in ditches after tournaments and pawning prizes to earn a little cash, being played by some vacant Hollywood minor-star. And even Rain Man had a love interest — so I’m sure there will be one of those as well.
Norman, according to Tim O’Connor’s biography, was an exceedingly difficult and maddening character. Was he autistic? Maybe. Did a blow to the head change his life? Perhaps. Will these nuances be difficult to capture on film or will it become an endless series of celluloid trick shots hit off the tops of Coke bottles?
Truth is the Moe Norman movie could be a lot of things. But a great golf picture? I’m not holding my breath.