Casting Kurt Warner’s Hollywood life

Arizona Sports News online

Imagine this movie plot. A small school quarterback just missed the cut for the Green Bay Packers and became a grocery bagger. Then he takes a journey from supermarket shelves to Europe and the Arena Football League before getting back to the NFL, getting a starting job thanks to a fluke hit and winning a Super Bowl. It is pretty clear, Hollywood executives would reject it faster than Dikembe Mutumbo with a cereal box.

Sometimes real life is better than fiction. And in the case of Twilight, it is always better than fiction.

Warner’s too good to be true life story is heading to the big screen soon thanks to a deal with 20th Century Fox — although, Warner Brothers seemed like the more logical fit — that was reached earlier this week. It was an agreement which was almost as unexpected as Warner’s career.

“It’s something that wasn’t on the forefront of my mind and then talks heated up again recently and so we decided it was a good time to pursue this,” Warner shared with reporters as he visited Cardinals camp. “20th Century Fox kinda stepped up to the table and said we want to do this. We’re excited about this project and we think we have a story here we can impact a lot of people with. Looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.”

The next step will likely be tapping a writer to pen the script. Don’t expect a fictionalized version of the quarterback’s life or a movie just “based on a true story” in some Aaron Sorkian type way though. Warner wants the project to be true to his life and his family’s belief system.

“From what they told me they want me to have as much of a say and as big of a part as I want to have,” the former signal caller turned analyst said. “Again, you know me…about everything I do I want to have a hand in it and have a big part in it so I’m looking forward to it. I don’t know a lot about movies but I want to make a story that is truthful, is honest and has the integrity that me and my wife and my family have…and can impact people. If that takes me being heavily involved I want to do that and watch it play out.”

One thing Warner and his wife Brenda will be hands off on is casting. They will leave that to the professionals.

“You throw those things around all the time and I really don’t think about that,” he said laughing. “I just tell people as long as they’re good-looking and more talented than me than I’m happy with that. We’ll see. Obviously my wife has some recommendations of who she’d like to see in it. People who are smarter than us, better than us will make those decisions. It’s going to be key. Who plays those roles. I know there’s people out there that can do and I’m excited to watch the process play out.”

Just because Warner won’t weigh in on the subject doesn’t mean I have to remain quiet. Whoever gets the gig has to be someone who can both pull off the athletic side of Warner but also the genuine and caring family man. There are a handful of actors capable of pulling off that combination.

Jason Bateman:
He’s a good guy who could easily and believably play Warner’s family life. Honestly, who hasn’t seen Michael Bluth and not thought about Kurt (OK, no one). The only question is, could he be believable during the football scenes? Maybe, but only if they resurrected the plot from “The Change Up” and he switched bodies with Ryan Reynolds.

Bradley Cooper:
His propensity for showing off facial stubble on screen makes him a valid candidate to play the Gloved One. The problem is, will anyone ever believe someone who was in the and played a crazy Eagles fan could really be Kurt?

Matt Damon:
Never thought he’d be an action star and he proved me wrong in the “Bourne Trilogy.” I don’t think he could play an NFL quarterback but maybe he’d fool all of us again.

Denzel Washington:
It’s Denzel. Despite obvious issues, if anyone could overcome them it’s the man who ended racism in the South in “Remember the Titans.”

Christian Bale:
He’s the obvious choice. He’s played a hero who saved a city on the brink of collapse so playing a quarterback who saved two desolate franchises and their fans shouldn’t be too difficult. When you also take into consideration he’s a method actor who engulfs himself in a role, you could see him playing Warner both on and off the field.

The other casting is simpler. Dick Vermeil would be played by any female contestant on the Bachelor since they’ve got the crying down. Brenda Warner would be Sandra Bullock. “The Blind Side” proved she has the football wife and mother thing down and she could look good in a buzz cut and long blonde hair. Denny Green would be played by Cleveland from Family Guy. Matt Leinart would be played by Matt Leinart since he has the free time and was nicknamed Hollywood for a reason. Last but not least, Larry Fitzgerald would be played by the Predator from the movie of the same name it has the hair down and would be a beast on the field just like the real Fitz.

Whether or not Warner and 20th Century Fox takes my casting advice, fans are in for a story so good it must be true. Because it is. And if Warner is lucky, it’s the kind of story that will effect not only football fans but anyone looking for hope in a world tougher than a piece of beef jerky left in the Arizona summer sun.

“Talk about humbling and exciting,” Warner expressed. “I always wanted it to have a big impact and what my life is all about to extend past the football field. You take the platform and you run with it. You never really expect it to happen, but you’re extremely excited about it.”