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Brian Clough Biopic In The Works

By Doug - April 24, 2008 - 09:49 America/Montreal

The writer of The Queen is reuniting with actor Michael Sheen for an upcoming biopic on English soccer coach Brian Clough. We get wind of this picture thanks to the professionals at Variety:

Sony Pictures Entertainment has acquired worldwide rights to “The Damned United,” a biopic of legendary English soccer coach Brian Clough, to be directed by Tom Hooper from a script by Peter Morgan. Sony will finance the $10 million project alongside BBC Films, which developed it with producer Andy Harries of Left Bank Pictures, and Screen Yorkshire. Shooting starts May 25.

Michael Sheen, who played Tony Blair in “The Queen,” the previous collaboration between Morgan and Harries, is set to play Clough. Tim Spall will take the role of his sidekick Peter Taylor, Colm Meaney will play rival coach Don Revie, and Jim Broadbent will be the chairman of Derby County, one of the clubs that Clough coached to success.

The project is adapted from Dave Peace’s novel, set in 1974 but flashing back to the 1960s, about Clough’s ill-fated 44-day reign as coach of Leeds United, then one of England’s most successful soccer teams. The flamboyant, unconventional Clough became a coach after his brilliant playing career was cut short by injury. He lifted small-time club Derby to the championship by sheer force of personality, but when he took over at Leeds, a team he publicly despised for their cynical style, he fell out spectacularly with the senior players and was swiftly fired.

Michael Sheen was outstanding as Tony Blair in The Queen and I am excited to see him as the lead of this picture.

I am not familiar with this tale, but it sounds like an excellent story for the big screen. A coach getting hired on to lead a team he has publicly ridiculed is a fable that is rife with comedic possibilities! Those involved with the team at this point in history no doubt filled the writer’s storehouse with ample material in which to spin the script. This project certainly seems to have what it takes to be a delightful sports biopic, and I look forward to it very much.

Those of you that are football/soccer fans and are familiar with the history of this story; please share your thoughts with us.


  1. Gag says:

    I hope this doesn’t turn into a very Disney-eque affair, and although I like Martin Sheen I don’t know whether he’s a Brian Clough

  2. dan says:

    Martin Sheen is no Clough. Clough is one of the greatest managers to ever walk on this planet. The only signs of him left are through Martin O’Neill at Aston Villa currently who played under him. Martin tries to emulate Clough which has led to Villa been dubbed the “Premiership’s Great Entertainers” of 2007/8. Clough is truly unique in his personality and I’m not sure how anyone can play him. Good luck though!!

  3. Dean says:

    if anyone hasn’t read the book, please do, it’s an amazing read. it’s a fictional account of real events, if that makes sense?

    can’t see Sheen as Cloughie myself, but hopefully this will turn out great.

  4. Tom says:

    Michael Sheen not Martin Sheen.

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