Picture Vince Vaughn in a '50s-era Carolina blue suit, and you’ll get some idea of what the producers and writers of McGuire’s Miracle have in mind for their film about the 1957 North Carolina basketball team that went undefeated and laid the groundwork for the dynasty.
A script is being finalized now, and the plan is to start filming sometime next year, says producer and UNC alumna Stephanie Pace, whose company, FilmNC Capital Management, bought the rights to the movie last year. Pace likes Vaughn for the role of Coach Frank McGuire and Laura Dern for his wife, though that’s admittedly a dream cast.
“This is going to be a snappy film,” Pace says. “I'm not doing Hoosiers.”
The project has gone in fits and starts since Indiana natives Matt Browning and Joe Herbert hatched the idea a few years ago.
Pace brought in husband-and-wife writing team of Joseph and Julia Gunnels, and the five just spent a week sequestered at a bed and breakfast punching up the script.
“I just pray that we can write a script that's good enough to capture this lightning in the bottle,” Joseph Gunnels says. “There’s something about these ball players.”
Lennie Rosenbluth was the star of that ’57 team, which beat Michigan State and Wilt Chamberlain-led Kansas in the Final Four to win the state’s first national title. Both games went to triple overtime.
Rosenbluth has been brought in as an advisor to the film.
He says the challenge will be capturing both the players’ and McGuire’s personality as well as the impact the magical season had on the entire state and on college basketball.
“A lot of people still come up to me and say, ‘I was 4 years old, and I remember my dad watching the game,’” Rosenbluth says. “There was so much excitement."
“It is my commitment that this film honors this group of men, who are just outstanding,” Pace says. “They should be held up as the standard today for college athletes.” TW