Gregory movie hopes pinned on Crowe

Russell Crowe in Robin Hood
Russell Crowe in Robin Hood
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COULD the life of former Wigan coach Mike Gregory be turned into a hit movie?

A copy of Mike’s autobiography, Biting Back, has been passed on to Hollywood actor and director Russell Crowe, in the hope he’ll stand up and take notice of the courageous battle put forward by the former Great Britain RL captain.

It has been set up by one of the book’s co-authors, Steve Manning, who thinks the story of Mike’s life would be of great interest to the Australian.

The idea came when Steve, a rugby league journalist, was thinking of a gift for departing Wigan coach Michael Maguire, as he returns to his native Australia.

The owner of Maguire’s new club, South Sydney, is film actor Crowe – the star of Gladiator, one of Gregory’s favourite films.

So Steve thought he would give Maguire not one, but two copies of Biting Back, and reckons if it is read by the actor, he could well be inspired by it.

He spoke with the publishing company and Mike’s widow Erica, who also wrote messages in both books.

She said: “At first when Steve said Russell Crowe, it didn’t register.

“But when he explained the link, I thought it was just wonderful.

“Mike was a huge fan, and Gladiator was one of his favourite all time films.”

Steve met with Maguire last week, and gave him the copies of the book.

Mike battled progressive muscular atrophy, a form of motor neurone disease, until his death in 2007.

The book tells of his early life, career as a player with Warrington, Salford and Great Britain, his coaching career, and his battle with the disease.

And Steve believes the story is an “Oscar waiting to happen”.

“I just had a brainwave,” he said. “Obviously, with Michael going to South Sydney, there is the connection.

“I wasn’t aware Mike was a big fan of Gladiator, until the theme was played at his funeral.

“I suppose that makes it that bit more special.

“Who knows what he’ll do when he gets the book?

“He could put it to one side or he may, like everyone else, think it’s an amazing story.

“I gave Michael the books on Saturday, and he said he will pass one on, so we’ll have to wait and see.

“Erica has written a little bit in it, and explained about Mike’s affection for the film, and I’ve put something in about making it into a film.”