Robert De Niro is a surprise choice to play former legendary coach Vince Lombardi in “Lombardi,” a theatrical motion picture being developed by ESPN Films, Andell Entertainment and the NFL.
“There are few actors who could accurately portray the fire, passion and grit of Lombardi and we’re thrilled to have Robert De Niro on our team,” said Charles Coplin, the NFL’s vice president of programming. “With the addition of De Niro, Eric and Tribeca Productions, we have a deep bench to produce a film worthy of the legendary coach and American icon.”
Academy Award-winning screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, The Good Shepherd) also will be part of the project, which will chronicle Lombardi during the years he transformed the Green Bay Packers from the worst team in the National Football League into five-time NFL champions.
ESPN/Andell have Lombardi’s life story rights through his estate and Vincent Lombardi Jr. as well as the rights to the renowned sports book “Instant Replay,” written by former Packer star Jerry Kramer and Dick Schaap.
Current plans call for the film’s release on the weekend between the AFC and NFC Conference Championships and the Super Bowl in 2012.