Hollywood ready to tackle Lombardi legend

Filming of "Lombardi," which will be based on the week leading to the Ice Bowl and the coach's famous motivational skills, could begin this winter.

Tinseltown, meet Titletown.

According to the entertainment magazine Variety, the NFL is joining forces with Andrew Hauptman's Andell Entertainment to produce a movie on legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi.

"Lombardi" will center on the week leading up to the famed Ice Bowl game. The Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys for the NFL championship on Bart Starr's last-seconds quarterback sneak on Dec. 31, 1967, and went on to beat Oakland in Super Bowl II. Lombardi left the Packers after that game, and died of cancer in June 1970.

Hauptman said much of the movie's focus will be on Lombardi's motivational and leadership abilities, which are renowned among Packers fans but perhaps not as well known among younger fans across the country.

"He had an enormous effect on everyone who met him — at a time when the country was craving leadership," said Hauptman, whose credits include "Millions," "State of Play" and the upcoming "Lions for Lambs," which will star Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.

The movie will be based in part on "Instant Replay," the best-selling book written by Dick Schaap and Jerry Kramer, the man who made the key block on Starr's winning score in the Ice Bowl.

Kramer and Lombardi's son, Vince Lombardi Jr., have signed off on the movie, according to the story posted on Variety's Web site, and will act as consultants.

The script is being written by David Murray.

Hauptman hopes to start production this winter.

"If not, we'll have to wait until the following winter, since we really do need to shoot this with 12-foot snowbanks," he said.

While there's no word on whether the NFL will foot any of the bill, the league will play a large role in developing the film. In fact, this will be the first time the NFL has co-produced a movie, though it provided input into "Jerry Maguire " and "Invincible."

"Having the NFL as a producer gives this project authenticity," Hauptman said.

Part of that authenticity will be the NFL enabling producers access to Lambeau Field — though it hasn't been decided if any filming will be done in the historic stadium — along with historical footage.

Charles Coplin, the NFL's vice president of programming, told Variety this movie could be a groundbreaking venture for the league, which is looking to capitalize on its popularity while adding content for its NFL Network.

Lombardi, of course, is the perfect place to start, given his lofty place in league history.

"We have such a legacy with so much rich content that we'd be foolish not to explore opportunities for other films," Coplin said. "Lombardi (is) an icon of popular culture who's well known among older NFL fans, but the story's also a great way for us to educate the younger fans."

According to Variety, the project has been in the works for about a year and a half. No word on who will play Lombardi in the movie.

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