Gale Sayers’ life rights and his memoirs, I Am Third and Sayers: My Life And Times, have been optioned by Nicholas Sparks’ production company with the goal being to produce a feature film that will, not strictly tell Sayers’ story, but instead one that will focus primarily on the friendship between Sayers and his friend and Chicago Bears teammate Brian Piccolo.
You might recall the 1971 made-for-television movie, Brian’s Song, which told the story of that friendship – one that shattered racial boundaries (Sayers is black and Piccolo, white, in case it’s not obvious) – and Piccolo’s final days.
Gale Sayers was played by Billy Dee Williams in that film, and Piccolo, who died of cancer, was played by James Caan.
The film was based on a chapter in Sayers’ autobiography, I Am Third, written with Al Silverman.
30 years later, the film was remade with Sean Maher and Mekhi Phifer playing the lead roles.
So let’s count this new production as a 3rd version of the story, based on a single chapter in Sayers’ bio. I don’t know about you folks, but I’d like to see a film based on Sayers’ entire autobiography or memoir, and not just a single, although certainly significant chapter – especially when the story has been told twice already.
So it goes…
Nicholas Sparks and his production company partner Theresa Park, will produce, along with Michael Costigan of COTA Films.