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The Express Chugs Along

Various members of the production team for The Express were at Syracuse U today, according to Donnie Webb at the Post-Standard. They were there for a little scouting and fact-finding. Some interest nuggets about the film, which will be about the life of famed Orange running back Ernie Davis, were revealed:

Executive producer Ezra Swerdlow said most of the movie will be filmed in Chicago because of the built-in infrastructure of the movie industry in that city. He said the football stadium at Northwestern University will be used as well as the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. However, he said special effects will be incorporated to try and match Archbold Stadium where Davis played during his time at Syracuse University. Some shots will be filmed at Syracuse University in order to place Davis on campus.

Swerdlow said the production has an actor in mind to play the role of Ernie Davis, but he's not ready to release his name. He said the actor is a relative newcomer who will be paired opposite Dennis Quaid, who has been cast to play Syracuse University coach Ben Schwartzwalder. The relationship between player and coach is central to the storyline, said Swerdlow.

As for director Gary Fleder's (Runaway Jury, Don't Say A Word) vision of the story:

"The relationship between the coach, almost a father figure, and Ernie, is really compelling to me," Fleder said. "Ultimately, that's what coaches are in sports. I'm interested in the idea of Schwartzwalder, who was a brilliant and uncompromising coach and the relationship with this young athlete coming up ... in the wake of Jim Brown (who is involved in the film as a technical consultant)."

And finally, some ideas regarding the timing of the filmmaking:

The movie is in preproduction. Filming will run between 10 and 11 weeks and continue from April, May and June. There's a long post-production period for four or five months that will include the visual effects component.

So expect to see The Express sometime in mid-2008 although IMDB currently has it listed as 2009. Either way, can't wait!