Just over a quarter of a century ago, the British film “Chariots of Fire” swept the 1981 Oscars. The iconic image of athletes in white running along the beach to Vangelis’ most famous theme remains to this day one of the true iconic moments of cinema reports The Guardian.
Now, plans are underway for a sequel picking up a year after the original, which dramatised Harold Abrahams’s and Eric Liddell’s sprints to glory at the 1924 Olympics. It also covered the religious convictions of the pair, notably Liddell’s which prevented him from running.
The sequel will likely follow Liddell’s return to his birthplace in China,to serve as a missionary. When World War II broke out, he sent his family to safety in Canada, but insisted on staying and was interned by the Japanese in 1943, He taught and organised sport for children in a camp before dying from a brain tumour.
Producers hope to persuade “Hornblower” and “Fantastic Four” star Ioan Gruffudd to play Liddell. Unlike the very British original however, “With Wings as Eagles” will be an American production and this has raised concerns that it will “stress religion at the expense of historical accuracy.”
Actor/writer Rich Swingle penned the script and has familiarity with the subject matter – creating the one-man stage show, Beyond the Chariots, which he performed at the Edinburgh Festival. He admits though he’s had to use “a bit of dramatic licence” to link up the two characters again.