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Tuesday, November 20, 2012
'Red Dawn' & exclusive Danny Way doc clip

By Sam Alipour
ESPN The Magazine

"I hate remakes, but this is phenomenal news. That movie is why I drink deer blood. No, I’m telling you, deer blood is great -- the deer runs through you, and then I eat the heart. I really hope they don’t cut out the part where they drink deer blood. And if they don’t have Charlie Sheen in this, they can eat it."

Those were the words of Jared Allen, the Minnesota Vikings sack master, avid hunter, eater of deer heart and plasma and unabashed fanboy of the original, Cold War-paranoia film “Red Dawn” when I asked him about the remake.

The 2012 "Red Dawn," in theaters tomorrow, reimagines the 1984 cult classic about a group of high school kids who rebel against an invading Soviet army.

In this not-as-timely update, Wolverines football is back -- the team’s star QB, played by Josh Peck (and, before him, Charlie Sheen), teams with his older brother, Chris Hemsworth of “Thor” fame (who reprises Patrick Swayze’s role), to lead classmates in their insurgency.

This time around, our occupiers are the bad guys from North Korea -- because, apparently, their pudgy, reclusive, twentysomething dictator, Kim Jong-un, is planning an invasion of America when he isn’t busy looking at stuff.

(Seriously, Google “Kim Jong-un Looking at Stuff.” Check out this Tumblr, too.)

Media Blitz logo
The film opens with a pretty cool credit sequence that establishes North Korea’s rise as a global agitator before it throws us into a Wolverines game. (Look for ESPN’s Mark Schlereth as their coach.)

What follows: a surprisingly plausible cyber-attack that knocks out our power grid, followed by a little bit of heart and a whole lot of action that is louder, bigger and sleeker than the original.

Of course, with apologies to Mr. Allen, the original totally sucks. Really, hit up Netflix – it does not hold up well. (Sorry, Mr. Allen.)

In the video above, I chat with Peck (a Nickelodeon mainstay) and his co-star, Adrianne Palicki (NBC’s “Friday Night Lights”) about the burden of remaking a so-called classic in the face of -- well, threats by the 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Still, first-time director Dan Bradley does an admirable job of appeasing fanboys who came of age in the ’80s and see the original as something sacred and beyond reproach, if not a remake.

And as for Jared Allen’s two-point wish list, “Red Dawn” bats .500: deer blood makes an appearance but Sheen sits this one out.

Eat it, indeed.

Elsewhere at the nexus of sports and entertainment:

GAME FILM: WILL BALE, DE NIRO OR COSTER DO LA RUSSA?

Nine years after the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals partook in a seemingly meaningless regular season series -- and six years after that series spawned the book “Three Nights,” by “Friday Night Lights” author Buzz Bissinger -- a film loosely based on that tome appears to be inching towards the plate.

David Anspaugh (“Rudy,” “Hoosiers”) is on board to direct the scripted feature, which will take a “Moneyball”-esque look at La Russa’s managing strategy, and actors Billy Bob Thornton, Kevin Pollak, and Ed Burns as well as former Cards manager Tony La Russa are among its producers.

Tony La Russa
Bale, De Niro and Costner are being targeted to portray La Russa.
The next step? Luring an A-list star to play a fictionalized version of La Russa. Christian Bale, Robert De Niro and Kevin Costner are among the actors being targeted for the film’s plum role, according to John Loar, one of the film’s producers.

“The hope is they’ll attract the financing we need to make it happen,” Loar says.

As for other key talent, Thornton will likely appear as a version of Cards pitching coach Dave Duncan and Burns will play a version of their catcher, Mike Matheny.

Pollack, a baseball nut and prolific character actor (“Usual Suspects,” “A Few Good Men”), will reluctantly refrain from portraying a ballplayer.

“I don’t know that there’s a single sports figure I can play that remotely makes sense for my tiny Jewdom,” Pollak says.

TUBE NEWS: TENNIS, VOLLEYBALL GET SCRIPTED LOVE

Next Tuesday (Nov. 27), beach volleyball star Misty May-Treanor follows Chris Bosh as the latest athlete to guest star on “Go On,” the NBC sitcom starring Matthew Perry as a sports-talk radio host.

Misty May-Treanor
The three-time Olympic gold medalist will appear on Matthew Perry's "Go On" next week.
Shot at Venice Beach in October, the scene sees the three-time Olympic gold medalist enlist Matthew Perry for a game with her friends.

Elsewhere: Justin Gimelstob, Chris Evert and Lindsay Davenport appear as themselves when the death of a professional tennis player is investigated in a January episode of CBS’ “CSI” which, Blitz is told, is not the “CSI” that starred David Caruso’s sunglasses.

TEAM DOC: DANNY WAY’S BIG AIR ON THE BIG SCREEN

Hitting select theaters and also available for download on Dec. 7 is the documentary “Waiting for Lightning.”

The Bandito Brothers production (“Dust to Glory,” “Step into Liquid”) details the life and totally insane times of big-air skateboarding legend Danny Way, who emerged from a broken home in Vista, Calif. to become a visionary in his sport through his many death-defying stunts, including his ride atop the Hard Rock Casino guitar and his famed jump of China’s Great Wall.

Directed by Way’s pal and fellow skateboarder Jacob Rosenberg, the doc features interviews with action-sports stars like Tony Hawk, Rob Dyrdek, Travis Pastrana, Laird Hamilton and Mat Hoffman as well as behind-the-jumps footage like the exclusive clip below of Way’s Great Wall rig.

“My team gave me some talking points for this interview,” Way said when he gave Blitz a call yesterday.

“But I just want to say, from me, that there’s a ton of skate videos of me out there -- I think this movie goes above and beyond that world. I hope people see this and feel like no there’s no challenge that’s too tall. That fear is an illusion -- that nobody should allow anything, and especially not fear, to defeat them. And that there’s no losing in trying. In fact, I think losing is not trying.”

Well said, Way.