'Broadway Joe' to Be Played by Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal to star in a film about the Hall of Fame quarterback.

ByABC News
November 28, 2007, 4:27 PM

Nov. 28, 2007 — -- Joe Namath was larger than life. He was a highly-touted high school prospect who starred for Bear Bryant at Alabama, took New York City by storm and led the New York Jets of the upstart AFL to a Super Bowl victory he had brashly guaranteed.

Good enough that Universal Studios will make a movie about the Hall of Fame quarterback, with Jake Gyllenhaal playing Broadway Joe, according to reports.

The film will recount Namath's journey from Beaver Falls, Pa. to Alabama to New York, where Jets owner Sonny Werblin bet a then unheard-of $400,000 on Namath giving the struggling Jets and the AFL instant credibility. "Broadway Joe" became a sports hero, a celebrity pitchman and a sex symbol in New York as the Jets won Super Bowl III.

"Most of the stuff you saw in 'Forest Gump,' Joe lived through all of it," executive producer Jimmy Walsh said, according to Variety.

Variety reported that David Hollander will write the script once the writers' strike ends, with Andrew Lazar producing and Walsh as executive producer. According to the report, Namath and Walsh signed off on the project partially because they believed Gyllenhaal was the right actor to play Namath.