by Jessica Marshall
The Olympic Games are a gold mine of ready-made, tension-filled, drama-laden narratives. The athletic rivalries, the pressure, the breakdowns, the tight tight Spandex..they all have us sitting on the edge of our seats for two weeks straight every two years. So it’s not unrealistic to say that it’s only a matter of time before the great Olympic stories of the 2012 London Games become fodder for Hollywood productions.
In fact, the Olympics action has already given us some ideas for potential movies, and some actors to star in them. Here are five that could turn out to be blockbusters.
“Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves: The Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte Story”
Starring Channing Tatum as Ryan Lochte and Benjamin Walker as Michael Phelps
Two swimming superstars. A fight for glory in the pool. Rippling abdominal muscles. It’s an adventure ready made for the big screen. And while we do know that the whole Internet thinks Michael Phelps and John Krasinski are long-lost twins, we just can’t see Jim from “The Office” as a natural fit for the role. Completely different type of goofy. Instead, we see “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” star Benjamin Walker as Phelps. Benjamin proved himself as the lithe athletic type in his recent breakout role as the ax-wielding, vampire slaying 16th U.S. president, and he did it while wearing a prosthetic nose. So even if he doesn’t totally resemble Michael, the wonders of modern prosthetics will take care of that. Let’s just hope they’re waterproof. Channing Tatum, on the other hand, is all we think about when we see Ryan. They have that same swagger, and the same hard (swoon!) body. The “Magic Mike” star is also a tremendous athlete in his own right, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him dive into the pool.
“The Golden Girl: The Gabby Douglas Story”
Starring Camille Winbush as U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas
The newly crowned Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas made history in London as both the first African American All-Around gymnastics champion and as the first American woman to win both the team and individual gold medals in one Olympics. She has an adorable smile and infectious spirit that is practically the spitting image of her name twin and “Bring It On” star Gabrielle Union. Union, however, is a little old to play Gabby in a movie, at age 39 (although she convincingly played a teenager when she was pushing 30), so we’re giving the role to “The Bernie Mac Show” cutie Camille Winbush. She’s young, she’s also got a great smile and she actually has a gymnastics background to boot, so donning the skin-tight leotard and chalking up won’t be entirely uncomfortable for her. Though we can’t promise there won’t be wedgies. That’s just part of the sport.
“Dive of Faith: The Tom Daley Story”
Starring Josh Hutcherson as British diving champ Tom Daley
Tom Daley is one of the most popular athletes in the U.K. these days, and his story is rife with drama—particularly with the loss of his dad to brain cancer not long before the London Olympics, a horrendous public breakup with his longtime diving partner and the recent Twitter scandal that ended in the arrest of a U.K. teen. He made a splash four years ago as the youngest athlete outside of the swimming events in Beijing, and he’s really really adorable. Just like “The Hunger Games” star Josh Hutcherson, who does triathlons for fun. Same athletic build, roughly the same height and that same gelled hairstyle. A perfect fit!
“Packing a Punch: The Marlen Esparza Story”
Starring Michelle Rodriguez as U.S. boxer Marlen Esparza
London 2012 is the first Olympics ever to incorporate women’s boxing as a competitive sport. And Marlen Esparza was the first female athlete from the U.S. to qualify. She’s a five-time U.S. champion and the world bronze medalist in 2006. She has yet to compete in London, but she’s already made history. So for her movie, we’re envisioning a musically intense training montage a la “Rocky.” But the journey of female boxing has been a long and arduous one that has been the subject of multiple award-winning films in the past—one of them being the 2000 film “Girlfight” starring Michelle Rodriguez. Hey, why not have Michelle reprise her role as a female boxer fighting both her opponents and the odds? She’s already been through the training and though a little bit older, is a dead ringer for Marlen Esparza…in the ring.
“A Hurdle to Glory: The Lolo Jones Story”
Starring Rashida Jones as U.S. hurdler Lolo Jones
Olympic runner and hurdler Lolo Jones bears so striking a resemblance to “Parks and Recreation” actress Rashida Jones that we’d almost believe they were actually related. Having the same last name and the same looks? Too crazy a coincidence to pass up. Lolo’s story is dramatic too, having stumbled toward the end of the 100-meter hurdle race in Beijing, blowing her chance for a medal in a race that she should have had in the bag. She also made headlines more recently when she decried premarital sex, leading to rumors of a potential relationship with Jets QB Tim Tebow. Drama! Lolo hasn’t competed in London yet, but she’s heavily favored to take back what she lost four years ago and make some history.
Which Olympics movie sounds most interesting to you? Sound off in the comments and on Twitter!