West Omaha Films and Falconer Pictures have signed Lyriq Bent to portray NFL player Marlin Briscoe in “The Magician, the Marlin Briscoe Story,” Variety has learned exclusively.
Doug Falconer (“Forsaken”) is producing for West Omaha Films along with Terry Hanna, Dave Clark and John Beasley. The screenplay was written by Gregory Allen Howard, whose credits include “Remember the Titans” and “Ali.”
The project has been in development for several years, but Bent is the first actor to be cast. Filming on “The Magician” is expected to begin in the late summer.
Bent was recently won best actor in a leading dramatic role at the Canadian Screen Awards for the miniseries “The Book of Negroes.” His feature credits include starring in three of the “Saw” films; TV credits include “Angela’s Eyes,” “Kevin Hill” and the “Kojak” reboot that starred Ving Rhames.
When the Denver Broncos hired him in 1968, Briscoe became the first starting black quarterback in the NFL at a time when African-Americans were not being given the opportunity to play the position in the league. He established a Denver rookie record of 14 touchdown passes that season but was then traded and never played another down at the quarterback position.
Briscoe played on two Super Bowl winners with the Miami Dolphins as a wide receiver. The film chronicles Briscoe’s triumphant comeback from addiction and despair and his personal journey of self-discovery.
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“I’ve waited along time for this,” Briscoe said of Bent’s casting. “I could not be more pleased by the producer’s choice. I’m incredibly honored to have Lyriq bring my story to life.”
Warren Moon, the first African-American quarterback inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, said, “I owe Marlin a great deal, as does every black quarterback that followed in his footsteps. Marlin surely owns a piece of the Doug Williams Super Bowl victory, my Hall of Fame career, and the spectacular college and pro careers of the new breed of African Americans everywhere currently playing and flourishing at the quarterback position.”
Briscoe will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame later this year for his performance as a college player at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where he set 22 school records.
Bent is repped by Don Buchwald & Associates as well as the Associates Talent & Literary Management, and he’s managed by Gorav Seth of Seth Management.