Pittsburgh worlds will collide again in a bio-pic of NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath, to be written by Mt. Lebanon native David Hollander.
The untitled Namath film, from Universal Pictures, will star Jake Gyllenhaal of "Zodiac" and "Brokeback Mountain," and follow the quarterback from his upbringing in Beaver Falls to the University of Alabama and stardom with the New York Jets.
Hollander, writer and creator of CBS-TV's "The Guardian," said he was approached two years ago about writing the film and his storyline, which starts in Beaver Falls, helped get Namath's approval of the project.
"Part of Joe's comfort, I think, in my approach was we have similar backgrounds, Hungarian ancestry, parents raised in a mill town," Hollander said yesterday from the set of "Personal Effects," a film he is directing in Vancouver.
"You can't come from Western PA and not want to do a football movie. It was a no brainer," he said of his interest in the project.
Hollander has not yet written the Namath screenplay due to the Hollywood movie and TV writers strike. That strike and Gyllenhaal's workload will likely drive when -- and where -- the Namath movie is filmed, he said.
-- Tim McNulty, Post-Gazette cultural arts writer
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