Will Ferrell is eyeing another role from the sports world after the Winning Time fallout with director David O. Russell’s John Madden biopic. Madden was an NFL coach who never had a losing season while working as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 1969 to 1978, during which time he secured the franchise’s first Super Bowl title. After stepping away from coaching, he became a prominent broadcaster and video game star with his series of Madden games, which are still being made today.
According to Deadline, Russell, the five-time Oscar nominee known for Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, is set to direct a biopic based on Madden’s life for Amazon and MGM. Ferrell, who has several sports-related films under his belt, is said to be circling the lead role, with the film focusing on Madden’s life after he stepped away from coaching. The biopic is from a Black List script by Cambron Clark that Russell was avidly working on until the WGA writers strike put the project on hold, with it still eyeing production following a resolution.
How Madden Can Make Up For Ferrell’s Lakers Exit
Ferrell is an outspoken sports fan, regularly attending sporting events and starring in several sport-centric comedies, including Kicking & Screaming and Blades of Glory. He was set to star in the Adam McKay-produced series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty as Jerry Buss, the majority owner of the Lakers during the 1980s. However, Ferrell was replaced with long-time friend and costar John C. Reilly, leading to an immense fallout between Ferrell and McKay, ultimately hurting their friendship and their company, Gary Sanchez Productions.
Winning Time has earned great reviews, with Reilly turning in a solid performance as Buss. Still, the fallout surrounding the casting has left strained relationships, with Ferrell looking elsewhere for sports-related material. Madden is one of the most recognizable personalities in the sports world, even after passing away in 2021, with his legacy continuing with the video game franchise that bears his name. So, though Ferrell lost out on portraying Buss in Winning Time to Reilly, its looks like he may land a more significant part with Madden.
The John Madden biopic also offers the actor another opportunity at a dramatic role as it explores him coming to grips with the end of his coaching career. While Ferrell is a proven comedian, he’s shown his dramatic range with the likes of Stranger Than Fiction and The Shrink Next Door, and a role like that of Madden could offer him a chance to further flex these serious chops in a role that would see him embodying a larger-than-life personality.