He might be more accustomed to the spells and potions of Hogwarts, but for his next trick, Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe will turn to the magic of sport in Gold, a biopic of four-time Olympic gold medallist and London 2012 organiser, Lord Sebastian Coe. There have already been a few complaints thanks to the height discrepancy between the two, with Radcliffe a good five inches shorter than Coe, but measurements aside, could this be the perfect pairing?
The casting, revealed last week by Screen Daily, has already got fans of both gentlemen excited. Since the end of the record-breaking film adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s bestselling novels, Radcliffe has played lead roles in several plays and independent films, with last year’s frightfest The Woman In Black a highlight. Still only 24, he seemingly has the world at his feet, with this role another chance to cement his reputation as one of the UK’s finest young screen talents.
Lord Coe has long been a national treasure, firstly for his heroics on the track in his 1980s heyday, and latterly for his role in delivering the hugely successful London Olympic Games in 2012. It seems extremely fitting that a film will soon pay homage to his early achievements, reminding a generation that missed the games of the initial reason for his fame.
Red, white and blue Lycra teamed with new Adidas trainers may not share many similarities with the broomsticks and robes of Quidditch, but there are certain parallels here. Coe was a hugely successful schoolboy athlete, just like Harry, and also had his personal duels to confront throughout his career. Coe’s main competitor was fellow GB athlete Steve Ovett, with their length rivalry culminating in a dramatic showdown at the Moscow 1980 Olympics.
Gold, which will be helmed by Woman In Black director James Watkins and Slumdog Millionaire writer Simon Beaufoy, will focus primarily on this rivalry. Both men were vying for gold in the 800 and 1500 metres. Without wishing to give away too many spoilers, the story already has a Hollywood-perfect finish: Coe triumphed in the latter, while Ovett claimed the former.
As the faces of two of the country’s most popular success stories, Daniel Radcliffe and Sebastian Coe appear perfectly matched. Fans of Harry Potter will be keen to see their favourite star in another big film, while fans of sport await the actor’s rendition of one of Britain’s most recognisable athletics stars.
The project is due to begin filming in London and Moscow early next year, and with a major A-lister in the leading role, the producers will be hoping for big box office returns. Rumour has it that at the franchise’s peak, Radcliffe commanded $25 million for a film – and given how much the series made, this is hardly surprising. The producers will be hoping for similarly magical audience numbers with this feel-good story.
The boy wizard may still dominate Radcliffe’s reputation, but with shrewd career choices he is staking his claim as an actor of integrity and substance. This role is a chance for him to flex his muscles, and we can’t wait to see Gold on the silver screen!