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franklin county times

Movie will share story of Chucky Mullins

A New York agency is in the beginning stages of creating a full-length feature film that will tell the story of one of Russellville’s most-loved sports heroes.

Chucky Mullins will be the subject of the film, which production research assistant Dylan Fowler said will have a “Remember the Titans”-esque feel. Fowler was in Russellville last week for foundational research to inform his knowledge of how Russellville looked during Mullins’ childhood and adolescence. He spent hours at the high school, the Franklin County Times and the Franklin County archives viewing sites and old photos – the visit to Russellville sandwiched in the middle of visits to Ole Miss and Nashville, Tenn., as part of a whirlwind trip.

The driving force behind the film is Brad Gaines, the Vanderbilt University football player Mullins, an Ole Miss athlete, tackled on the gridiron in a play that paralyzed him. Gaines and Mullins stroke up a close friendship following the life-altering injury, and Gaines has continued that relationship even after Mullins’ death – attending the memorial scholarship golf tournament, presenting the scholarship and visiting Mullins’ grave. Fowler said Gaines first presented the movie idea to Hollywood studios, but when they wanted to change too much of the story, Gaines landed with Laspata DeCaro in New York, working with the producer and director who put together the ESPN documentary on the story.

“We’re in the very early stages of pre-production,” Fowler. “We’re talking about some pretty big names, Hollywood names, for the casting.”

Fowler has worked in marketing and on the Broadway production of “Mamma Mia,” but the Chucky Mullins’ story will be his first full-length feature film to be a part of. He said it’s a wonderful story to be able to tell on the big screen. “This is a movie about football, but really it’s a love story – Chucky’s love for Russellville, Chucky’s love for football, Russellville’s love for Chucky, Ole Miss’ love for Chucky. There’s all of this love, and then Brad and Chucky end up becoming really close, so there’s their love for each other, their friendship. Even though there’s a tragic ending, it really is a feel-good movie because he left such an impression, and he came from nothing.”

The movie title presently is “It’s Time,” like the documentary, in honor of the chant at Ole Miss, with the tagline, “It’s fate. It’s football. It’s love. It’s time.”

Shooting begins in October, and the movie is slated to release in fall 2017.