First Indy 500 may get the big-screen treatment
Creators of “Hoosiers” and “Rudy” team up with Indiana film producer for project
The Indianapolis 500 has had a long connection with movies. While many of those Indy-driven movies came out in the 1930s, the aura of Hollywood has continued to intertwine with the aura of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing up to the present day.
But with a few exceptions, the fact of the matter is that most racing movies suck. Now, some of them can pass as cornball entertainment (see”Days of Thunder” or “Talladega Nights”) but most race fans have accepted that whenever the camera turns their attention to the sport, there’s going to be something they’re not gonna like in the finished product. When you see something as outlandish as “Driven,” you have every right to be skeptical.
Oh well, at least Wilson’s in it (why, yes, I am a “House” fan) and Sylvester Stallone made up for it — eventually — with “Rocky Balboa.” But let me get back on point here. Most racing movies simply don’t cut the mustard, but perhaps, we may finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Indiana film producer Justin Escue has teamed up with Angelo Pizzo and David Anspaugh, the two creators behind sports movie classics “Hoosiers” and “Rudy,” to make a movie based on the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911.
According to SPEED Channel’s Robin Miller, the movie will revolve around IMS co-founder and “500″ mastermind Carl Fisher, as well as the two main combatants that fought for victory in that first Spectacle — winner Ray Harroun and runner-up Ralph Mulford.
As of now, the film is trying to secure financing and a location to build a circa-1911 replica of IMS. Miller goes on to report that the group plans on attempting to sell the finished film to a major distributor. The targeted release date is 2011.
I’d certainly like to see this project if it is completed. I want to see that a lot of love is put into this — it’s a great subject and I think that there’s a chance to cultivate a younger generation of fans with this film.
With that said, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if Zack Snyder, director of the epic “300″ and the upcoming “Watchmen,” got his hands on this and employed the whole “digital backlot” shebang we’ve seen in those films (click here to see how “300″ used this), as well as in Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s “Sin City.”
There’d be a lot of risk involved — the massive scale of this type of production would threaten to squash the story itself. But with a balance of visual effects and restraint, I could see a topic like the first Indy 500 pulled off with this style of film-making.
But that’s just a little daydream I had once. No matter what, I just want to see a good racing film. Hopefully, these guys can do the job.