John Sayles will pen “Carlisle School,” a feature about Olympic gold medalist Jim Thorpe, for Walden Media.
Pic will be produced by Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray, who produced “Miracle” and “The Rookie” for Disney, with John Fusco and Jim Crabbe.
The film will chronicle the early years of Thorpe’s collegiate sports career during his years at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, a boarding school in Pennsylvania that housed Native Americans from childhood through college. Project will also detail the college’s winning football seasons in 1911 and 1912 under the direction of legendary Coach “Pop” Warner and Thorpe’s pentathlon and decathlon victories at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, after which Sweden’s King Gustav V dubbed him the world’s greatest athlete.
Thorpe was later stripped of the medals because he’d played semi-pro baseball. The Intl. Olympic Committee restored the medals posthumously in 1982.
“Carlisle School” is a “project that embodies Walden Media’s mission to illuminate history,” said Walden Media prexy and co-founder Michael Flaherty. “Not only is it a great sports story with tremendous heart, but it also sheds light on a forgotten chapter of our past.”
Walden VP of production and development Joe del Hierro and production exec Evan Turner will oversee the project, reporting to Walden exec VP of production Alex Schwartz.
Thorpe’s life was previously the subject of the Warner Bros. movie “Jim Thorpe: All American,” which starred Burt Lancaster as Thorpe and Charles Bickford as Warner. That pic was made two years before Thorpe’s death in 1953.