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Casting “Tim Tebow: The Movie”

With the New England Patriots' 45-10 drubbing of the Broncos on Saturday night, the curtain closed on Denver quarterback Tim Tebow's inexplicably great season. But, like ESPN and every news outlet in the Western World, we simply can't get enough of the hunky, earnest quarterback with perhaps the worst throwing mechanics we've ever seen. Even though his season's over, this much is clear: We simply need more Tebow.
Which brings us to Tim Tebow: the Movie.

Too soon? Apparently we're not alone in asking the question. Moreover, just like Michael Oher -- the offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens whose real life story in The Blind Side helped Sandra Bullock win an Oscar -- Tebow's life story already has the elements of Hollywood fiction. There's the miracle of his birth following a troubled pregnancy. His fight to play high school football as a home-schooled kid. His doubters. His self-belief and run of come-from-behind victories. The fact that a vastly superior Patriots team beat his Broncos in the playoffs only whets our appetite for what's to come. Thus, while others spent their Sundays actually watching real football, we've been hard at work figuring out which actors are best suited to play the archetypical characters that inhabit Tebow's life. You get the first peek into our playbook:
The Mother: Sandra Bullock
Hell, she did it once in "mothering" Quinton Aaron's Oher. By all accounts, Pamela Tebow seems like a very nice lady who raised a very nice son. And Bullock is gradually becoming the go-to American mom with movies like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; playing Mrs. Tebow would complete her transformation. It was a tossup between Bullock and Diane Lane, who'll appear as Superman's mother in the forthcoming Man of Steel. But whatever football knowledge Bullock gleaned from her Blind Side time put her over the top. The Nonbeliever Coach: J.K. Simmons
To play Broncos head coach John Fox, whose early decision to not play Tebow drew ire from the Broncos fan base, we need an actor who can convincingly hold his gound in keeping our perky protagonist down -- and then shift, grudgingly, into a full-on supporter. Simmons proved he had the goods as Mac MacGuff in Juno, showing off both biting sarcasm and tenderness in caring for his unwed pregnant daughter. His range is simply fantastic. As Ellen Page's Juno might say, he would make a terrific cheese to Tebow's macaroni.

The Obstacle to Greatness: Ryan Reynolds
In the Tebow mythos, quarterback Kyle Orton looms as the villain simply because he played the quarterback position in a more conventional fashion and coaches believed they had a better chance to win with him. But our Orton must show both arrogance in trying to keep his job and petulance over losing it to Tebow. In short, it needs the right kind of jerk. Adventureland and The Change-Up prove Reynolds could play that jerk.    The Icon, Part 1: Kellan Lutz
We may not be, you know, 12-year-old girls, but that doesn't mean we can't see that the Twilight star is perfect for the part of Tebow. Not only does Immortals star Lutz have the bulk to pull off a pro football player, but he has the kind of box office pedigree that makes us believe in his ability to bring in millions of screaming teenage fans.  

The Icon, Part 2: Jim Caviezel
What the Tebow story really needs is a dose of historical perspective. Thus enters the need for a Tebow of the future, namely Caviezel. Dude -- he played Jesus. Anyone willing to take on that role under the direction of Mel Gibson can easily handle portraying a character who's both captivated and repulsed football and non-football fans alike. After The Passion of the Christ, one could easily see Caviezel dropping his knee in prayer to "Tebow." Turning actual sports figures into movie characters is never easy, particularly because we know the outcome of their lives, or at least the outcomes of the games they play in. The best of these movies, of which Moneyball is the most recent example, are able to take real life and make a story that's both faithful to actual fact and build the people involved into characters and not cardboard stand-ins. We pay to see movies in order to leave real life, not to relive it. Whether Tebow will ever be a great quarterback remains to be seen. What is undoubtedly true, however, is that his 2011 season was mesmerizing. Tebow's jersey sales rank as one of the highest sellers in NFL history. We can't wait to see how well a Tebow movie would do. 

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