From the ball park to big screen

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to Eric Cantona (40285892)

We have seen it happen so many times: sports people at some point in their careers moving from their disciplines to try out acting.

It sounds far-fetched, but it happens almost every day. A case in point, though it is not acting, is Mark Fish’s appearance on Survivor South Africa. We should not be surprised if he turns up on one of the soapies in the near future.

It is with this in mind that Trace Sports Stars came up Movies vs Sport. It is, after all, Oscar month, so the sports channel had to find material to compete with the entertainment market. The show looks at well known sportspeople who quit their careers and decided to go the Hollywood route.

Manchester United fans will be glad to know former player Eric Cantona’s life after the beautiful game is documented.

After retiring in 1997, the Frenchman decided to go into acting. His first major project was the Oscar-winning film Elizabeth (1998) in which he starred opposite Cate Blanchett. Since then he has starred in several stage and film projects, making him one of France’s success stories in sport and the arts.

Other successful transitions include Hollywood royalty like Arnold Schwarzenegger, the bodybuilder who became an actor. The seven-time Mr Olympia (bodybuilding competition) went on to retire and became a huge success in Hollywood, churning out films like Terminator and True Lies.

As if that was not enough, Americans loved the Austrian so much they made him the governor of California for two terms.

Now retired from politics, Schwarzenegger continues to be a force in the film industry.

Another person worth mentioning is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The powerfully- built man is not in any way Oscar-winning material, but that’s no surprise since he cut his acting teeth on WWE where the wrestlers recite prepared lines to make it seem as if they hate each other. That said, The Rock has done well for himself in action movies and silly children’s ones like The Tooth Fairy.

While sports stars move from the field into the movies, the movies also go to the sports world for inspiration.

Take films like Invictus or the Oscar-winner The Blind Side, for example, which are both sport movies inspired by real events. They make use of particular sporting disciplines, but manage to tell beautiful human stories that work even for those who are not fans of sport.

 

• Movies vs Sport airs from Monday, March 10 at 9pm on Trace Sports Stars, (DStv Channel 188).

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