Within the next year, the fruits of Portlander Mike Rich's labor will be evident on the big screen.
Rich, who splashed onto the movie scene when he wrote the screenplay for 'The Rookie' in 2001, is sticking with a sports theme for his next two films, 'Radio' and 'Miracle on Ice.'
'Radio' is the true story of a high school football coach (played by Ed Harris) and his relationship with a mentally disabled man (Cuba Gooding Jr.) who became a major part of the program.
It is scheduled for release on Nov. 21, 'the day before the Civil War Game,' says Rich, an Oregon State graduate and football season ticket-holder.
Rich struggled with one scene, the coach's speech before an important game. At Harris' request, Rich rewrote the scene several times, 'but he still felt something was missing,' Rich says.
So, Rich sought out a friend who knew a little about such pep talks Ñ Lakeridge High coach Steve Coury.
'I utilized a couple of Steve's tips in the next draft, and Ed said, 'Yeah, that's it. Perfect,' ' Rich says. 'So, there will be a touch of Steve Coury in the film.'
Rich's other project, the remake of the 'Miracle on Ice' film about the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, is in the final stages of shooting in Vancouver, B.C. It is scheduled for release next February.
'It has been a long shoot, because hockey is a tough sport to shoot,' Rich says. 'In baseball, you can put Dennis Quaid on the mound, and it's pretty contained and you know what you are going to get. Hockey is so fluid and fast, it makes it tougher.'
Kurt Russell plays coach Herb Brooks, and Rich Ñ who has visited the set a half-dozen times since the shoot began in March Ñ is thrilled with the casting.
'Brooks is a complicated guy, and Kurt got it dead-on,' Rich says. 'Since his son (Wyatt) is a junior-hockey goalie, Kurt knows the sport backward and forward.'
Most of the actors portraying players are amateur or former college or junior players.
'You won't recognize a name in the bunch, and that's the way we wanted it,' Rich says. 'We decided to cast hockey players who could act instead of the other way around. I think the public is going to be pleased with the results.'
• One source sets Kobe Bryant's endorsement contract with Nike at five years for $40 million to $45 million, plus royalties on a planned signature shoe Ñ something decidedly less than LeBron James' guaranteed seven-year, $90 million deal. Hey, what's Kobe ever done, anyway?
James' recent first visit to Nike's Beaverton campus drew mixed reaction, incidentally. While Carmelo Anthony came off as cooperative and abiding with requests, James struck some as a little full of himself. It will be interesting to watch his development as a person just as much as his growth as a player.
• Mixed academic and disciplinary news out of Oregon State's football program: Offensive guard Kanan Sanchez, suspended for not fulfilling workout obligations during the spring, has completed his restitution work and has been reinstated. And it appears that if receiver Cole Clasen passes his summer school courses, he will be eligible in the fall.
The word is not so encouraging about Noah Happe, who skipped spring practice to concentrate on his studies. Unless he is able to repair damage done during the spring, plus pass a full load of summer school, the Beavers' starting defensive end will be ineligible next season. The would-be senior has used a redshirt season, so his college career appears over.
Tailback Josh Farrell, one of seven reserves who decided to transfer after spring ball, has landed at Sacramento State. That means Farrell will face his old teammates in OSU's opener Aug. 28 at Reser Stadium.
• Two more Paul Allen investments are in peril.
Last month, the Allen-owned Sporting News laid off eight full-time editorial employees and dropped its entire roster of baseball correspondents. Meanwhile, an Allen project in London is being partially scuttled, according to Fortune magazine.
In 1996, Allen bought a derelict Victorian maternity hospital for
$8 million. Along with pal Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, Allen wanted to build a creative space Ñ a media center, private club and restaurant for artistic types. Allen envisioned gallery shows, studio music recording and filmmaking at 'The Hospital.'
But it took three years to win permission from London planning officials, which pushed back the scheduled opening to May 2003. That got derailed last fall when Allen and his financial advisers got cold feet. By that time, several executives working on the project had been laid off.
A TV studio and art gallery are still scheduled to open sometime this year, and a private club may still be completed. According to Fortune, Allen has sunk $100 million of his fortune into the project.