Don Meyer didn’t hesitate when asked which actor he thought should portray him in an upcoming movie about his life.
“One willing to have their leg cut off about halfway through the movie,” said Meyer, who is 67 and had 923 career wins. “You’ve got to want it pretty bad to do that.”
Sounds like a tough role.
But if the producers truly wish to capture the essence and character of the former Lipscomb basketball coach, overcoming the loss of a limb on the big screen will only be part of the challenge.
There’s also the diagnosis of terminal cancer Meyer received while recovering after having his lower left leg amputated.
Then he was stricken with heart problems that required having a pacemaker implanted and three heart valves replaced.
Former Lipscomb baseball player Casey Bond and Brad Wilson, executive vice president of Moonglow Films, have been in town recently to meet with potential investors for the independent film.
They hope to be in production by the end of the year and have the movie in theaters in 2013.
“I was back on campus at Lipscomb and got to talking with some of the people there about Coach Meyer and his story and how incredible it is,” said Bond, who was in the movie “Moneyball.”
A Lipscomb administrator suggested Bond consider making a movie about Meyer.
“I went back to L.A. with it in the back of my mind,” Bond said. “And then one day I just got to thinking about it a little more. I just kind of connected some dots, and it all came to me in front of my face this is how this movie can be done.”
The budget for the project is between $2 million and $5 million, Bond said.
“We’ve already gotten some great commitments, but you can’t start anything with an independent film until you have all the funding in place,” Bond said.
He hopes the film’s primary message will be positive.
“I would just want it to be as accurate as it can be and that it help as many people as possible,” Meyer said. “If it can help people, it’s a good thing. If it doesn’t help anybody, it’s a waste of time.”
Bond said he hoped to get Meyer’s approval on every major point in the film.
“There’s going to be no fabrication,” Bond said. “We’re sticking to the story and the people involved and the events. If there’s conflict, I don’t think that Coach Meyer is the type of guy who is going to stray away from that. If it happened, he’s not going to deny it.”
Meyer led Lipscomb to the NAIA national championship in 1986 and posted a record of 665-179 in his 24 years at the school. Upset by Lipscomb’s move to NCAA Division I, Meyer left Nashville after the 1998-99 season.
Meyer started coaching at Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D., the following season and five years later had the Wolves in the NCAA Division II national tournament.
He lost his leg after a September 2008 car accident.
Meyer retired from coaching in 2010 and then ramped up his motivational speaking appearances.
He suffered another setback in August when doctors discovered a hole in his heart and other problems. After spending several weeks in the hospital, Meyer returned to the speaker’s circuit.
“I’m plugging away doing some workshops and different talks again,” Meyer said. “I’ve got a weight limitation with the arms, and I can’t lift more than 10 pounds because they want my sternum to heal. You can’t put a lot of pressure on that.”
“His resilience and drive is just incredible,” Bond said. “His recent medical problems and recovery will be in the movie.” Written by Mike Organ
Release Date: (Theaters) TBA!
Release Date: (DVD) TBA!
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