CAPE TOWN – It was the utmost joy for Japan’s Brave Blossoms, and utter humiliation for the mighty Springboks.
Now the Japanese’s epic 34-32 triumph over South Africa at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in Brighton, England, will be made into a movie.
Japanese website Kyodo News reported on Wednesday that Australian writer and director Max Mannix will be the man behind the project, with filming set to start in January on the Gold Coast in Australia.
The movie has been tentatively titled ‘The Brighton Miracle’, and it is set to capture the story of the match, and the players and then-Japan coach Eddie Jones – who is now in charge of England.
The Springboks were expecting to cruise to an easy opening World Cup victory, ahead of tougher games against Scotland and Samoa.
But on September 19 in 2015, Karne Hesketh scored the winning try for Japan in the closing stages to stun the rugby world against a Bok side that included world-class operators such as captain Jean de Villiers, Schalk Burger, Bryan Habana, Victor Matfield and Bismarck du Plessis.
“What Eddie Jones and his team did in 2015 was truly magnificent and worthy of being remembered,” Mannix told Kyodo News.
“The story goes beyond rugby in the same way ‘Chariots of Fire’ wasn’t just about running. That was more a film about the distinction between class, belief and religion.
“No one gave the Japan team a chance against South Africa, who at the time were the most successful Rugby World Cup team in history. The result was celebrated around the world. What I want to do is try and show why it happened, where did the self-belief come from?”
The 53-year-old Mannix, who is a former professional rugby league player, said that New Zealand actor Temuera Morrison will play Jones, and Uli Latukefu of Australia would fill the role of Japan captain Michael Leitch.
“Eddie understood humiliation because he had lived it,” Mannix said of Jones’ difficult upbringing in Sydney as a child of an Australian father who had fought in the Vietnam War, and a Japanese mother.
“He is a complex character and I wanted people to see why that is.
“Imagine how the Japan players felt being told before they went by millions of people that they didn’t have a chance. How they overcame that self-doubt and put aside what everyone thought and knuckled down in what they believed in. That’s what this story is all about.”
“It’s less to do with rugby and more to do with humanity and it’s that story that drives you to the fantastic outcome.”