Ben Affleck has committed to star in “Glory Road,” a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Disney drama about the college hoops coach who shattered the color barrier by leading the first all-black lineup of players to the NCAA championship.
Affleck will play coach Don Haskins, whose 1966 Texas Western team beat an all-white team from Kentucky.
Project reunites Affleck with Bruckheimer, with whom he worked on the Michael Bay-directed films “Armageddon” and “Pearl Harbor.”
No director has been set, but the hoops pic will become Affleck’s replacement film after Disney shelved the Betty Thomas-directed “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.”
The halting of that film fueled reports that Disney had lost faith in Affleck’s star power after the dismal failure of “Gigli” — a point hotly denied by studio production chief Nina Jacobson. Her argument is certainly bolstered by the speed with which she worked to find a replacement project for the thesp. Jacobson not only worked with Endeavor to roll Affleck’s deal into “Glory Road,” she also committed to a second picture that hasn’t yet been determined.
Chris Cleveland-scripted film is “Hoosiers” meets “Remember the Titans”: When Haskins was named head coach, he headed right to the playground to recruit players. While the major college teams used slow-tempo offenses, Haskins’ teams revolutionized the college game with a run-and-gun style that overwhelmed the opposition. He won the NCAA title four years after taking over the team and helped open the college game to African-Americans.
Affleck is expected to begin shooting “Glory Road” in early 2004. He has two upcoming films in the can: “Surviving Christmas” and the John Woo-directed “Paycheck.”