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Finally We're Getting the Tom Brady Biopic We've Needed, Appropriately Titled 'The Patriot Way'

CJ GUNTHER. Shutterstock Images.

Some lives are just too big and full of accomplishments to be captured in just one book or one film. They deserve to be seen from many different points of view, interpreted by different artists, authors, playwrights and filmmakers. So when a Steven Spielberg offers up his statement on Lincoln, or Ridley Scott tells the story of Napoleon (which looks incredible, by the way), we all want to see these great, consequential lives to be seen from another auteur's perspective. I mean, when Mel Gibson made  The Passion of the Christ and announced he's working on the sequel, no one was saying, "But the New Testament did that already!" 

And no life as historic and world-shaking as Tom Brady's could be done justice by the projects that have already attempted to tell his epic tale. The NFL Films specials. Kraft Productions' documentary trilogies 3 Games to Glory or Do Your Job. Brady's own production company's Tom vs Time and The Man in the Arena. The road trip/buddy comedy 80 for Brady, about four old post-menopausal Bradysexuals going on journey to watch him beat the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Each of them was just a puzzle piece in the vast mosaic that has been his life of incomprehensible achievement. 

So what this calls for is a series. With respect to the GOAT, there's simply too much there there for a mere film to tell his tale. This calls for sweeping, biographical, multipart epic saga that does him the justice he deserves. And we are getting one:

Source - Tom Brady is getting the biopic treatment.

The Gotham Group is developing a scripted limited series titled “The Patriot Way” about the quarterback, following his rise from a sixth-round NFL draft pick to the global superstar who led the New England Patriots to nine Super Bowls, winning six. It will also cover the Aaron Hernandez, “Spygate” and “Deflategate” controversies as well as Brady’s conflicts with head coach Bill Belichick.

Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson are attached to write the “The Patriot Way,” which will be adapted from “12: The Inside Story of Tom Brady’s Fight for Redemption,” the 2018 book by sports journalists Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge. …

Tamasy and Johnson are best known for writing, along with Scott Silver, “The Fighter,” the 2018 biopic directed by David O. Russel that starred Mark Wahlberg as boxer Micky Ward. The pair also previously collaborated on “Patriots Day” (2016), which starred Wahlberg as a police officer during the Boston Marathon bombings; [and] “The Finest Hours” (also 2016), a thriller directed by Craig Gillespie that starred Casey Affleck and Chris Pine.

It should surprise exactly no one that I have many thoughts. In order: 

This is finally a reason to care that the writer's strike is over. I'll try to keep this in mind as Hollywood keeps churning out watered down dreck about D-list superheroes and lazy, slapped-together franchise reboots where my boyhood heroes are reduced to bitter old cranks so some plucky, Mary Sue girl bosses can save the day.

We can do without the fake narrative about Brady and Belichick hating each other. And Aaron Hernandez altogether.

I wish they picked a better book for the source material. 

Though nobody in New England thinks Patriots Day captured the Marathon Bombings story properly, The Fighter is great. The Finest Hours is a solid film treatment of a terrific non-fiction adventure book. So there's every reason to hope this writing team can make it work. 

Most of all though, Mark Wahlberg's name came up way too often in this for my liking. This has "Vanity Project" written all over it. Wahlberg has been blatantly and shamelessly been gunning to play Brady in a movie forever. To the point you just know he'd pay Hollywood back all the money he made for disasters like The Happening, Planet of the Apes and that Transformers sequel to get the part. Watch this and tell me I'm wrong:

In fact, if anyone got this role over him, I'd warn them to keep their head on a swivel. And think about hiring a food taster.

Plus, it's like Tom Hanks and Wahlberg sat down years ago for a meeting where they divided up all the real life white, male, American heroes that each of them would get to play. Hanks got everyone over the age of 50 (Sully Sullenberger, Captain Phillips, Mister Rogers) and Wahlberg took the under (Mickey Ward, Lone Survivor, the Boston Police). Now he wants to be the biggest hero of all. He wants Brady so bad the rest of us can taste it. But the closest he's come has been Vince Papale

The thing is, playing Tom Brady is too big a role for any established actor. Some stories are just too familiar, the main protagonist is too recognizable in the public eye, for anyone we already know to lose themselves in the part. That's why the studios hired an unknown Vivian Leigh to play Scarlett O'Hara, or Peter O'Toole (still the dirtiest name in Hollywood history) to be Lawrence of Arabia, and why JK Rowling wanted a newbie like Daniel Radcliffe to play Harry Potter instead of Haley Joel Osmont. Instead of using de-aging CGI to make Wahlberg look like 2001 Brady, they should hire an unknown, let him make this series, and then retire from acting altogether because you only get one role of a lifetime, and this is it. 

But who am I kidding? Gotham didn't hire all these Wahlberg collaborators just to give his dream role to anyone else. I just hope they include a scene where Wahlberg bails on Brady in the Super Bowl. And I'll suggest putting Brady in the role of his supposed friend who dipped out of the stadium when the Patriots were down 28-3 and later claims it's because his kid was sick. 

Finally, I love the title. Belichick might say there's no such thing as "The Patriot Way" and point out he's never used the term. But Tom Brady has lived it. And the sooner the "Patriot for Life" attaches his name to this title, the more we can all get back to pretending Tampa Bay never happened.