The NFL season is still 6 months from its start, but the Cleveland Browns are already 1-0. Earlier this week the Browns, really the city of Cleveland beat out Buffalo to become the focal point of Draft Day, the upcoming NFL-sanctioned movie from Ivan Reitman.
When the project first hit the news, Buffalo seemed as the clear front runner to land the film. But in a scenario that must seem all too familiar to Bills fans, the team just wasn’t able to close the deal . As reported by The Buffalo News, Cleveland was able to put together a more attractive incentive package saving the production about $3.5 million dollars by filming on the Ohio shores of Lake Erie.
The film follows Kevin Costner as the newly installed General Manager of the Cleveland Browns. In a case of art imitating life, the Browns have recently named Mike Lombardi to the same position. In the film, Costner’s GM tries to trade the number one overall pick in the NFL draft for players that can help his struggling franchise regain some of its past glory. Filming for the movie will begin in April at the 2013 NFL Draft where Lombardi will try to turn the Browns’ number 6 pick into something that doesn’t suck.
Draft Day adds to what has been an impressive list of films to shoot in Cleveland recently. Filming in Cleveland can start as early as late spring, right around the time when Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier is set to come to town. Recently, Marvel has been kind to Cleveland as The Avengers battled aliens along East 9th St in 2012 with the sequel set to return to next year. Beating Cap and Iron Man to Cleveland was your friendly neighborhood Spider-man as Sam Raimi filmed some scenes for 2007’s Spider-man 3 in Believeland. A couple must-see films from Dave, Take Shelter and Cleveland, I Love You (who would have guessed, right?) were also both filmed in Cleveland.
Brownstown is no stranger to sports movies either. Most folks are familiar with Major League, following the exploits of fictitious Cleveland Indians players banding together to keep the team from leaving the city. In typical Cleveland fashion, even our fake sports teams can’t manage to win a championship. Keeping with the sports comedy genre, Happy Gilmore was also filmed in and around northeast Ohio. Both of those might rank pretty high in my own sports movie pantheon.
I can’t say that I am anticipating Draft Day joining that list of great sports movies, filmed in Cleveland or no. When we first discussed the project a couple weeks back, I wasn’t really that interested. I do enjoy the NFL and the Draft as much as the next guy, but I’m not sure that I would care about what a fake team, even the fake Browns would do in a fake draft. The thing that makes Major League great is the comedy, the fact that it involves the Indians only sweetens the deal. As far as we can tell, Draft Day sounds like it is setting up to be a pretty straight film despite being directed by the guy that gave us Animal House, Ghostbusters and Stripes. I don’t care about the Bills, not even a little bit. When this movie was about the Bills, I was ok with it being a complete suckfest. Now that the Browns are involved, I am really hoping it turns out ok. The Browns can and have sucked pretty hard all by themselves. We don’t need any help from Hollywood.