When Gregg Drinnan sat down to write his book about the 1986 Swift Current Broncos he never thought the story was the kind that films are made of.
The tragedy of the bus accident that killed four players was a big story at the time, but a movie? Based on his book?
"For whatever reason, I never gave it a thought," said The Daily News sports editor.
Trilight Entertainment announced Tuesday that it has optioned Sudden Death: The Incredible Saga of the 1986 Swift Current Broncos with the intention of producing a theatrical feature film. Award-winning Saskatchewan writer/director Rob King (Corner Gas, Hungry Hills, is penning the adaptation.
Drinnan first heard about the pending film deal from Leesa Culp, who, along with former Bronco Bob Wilkie, approached him with a rough manuscript for the book four years ago.
Culp was the lone female witness to the bus accident.
Producer Shayne Putzlocher, who read the book during Christmas break and was excited about the story, contacted Culp, said Drinnan.
"Who am I to start thinking that this book would become a movie?" he asked himself. "We'll see what happens."
Two weeks ago, Culp contacted Drinnan again, saying the deal was all but done. Everything was finalized on Monday, he said.
Drinnan doesn't know when the film will go into production. He said the story will be a period piece, taking place in the late 1980s, and the sexual exploitation of players by coach Graham James will not be a big part of the story.
"The vision is to make a movie about the bus accident and what followed," he said, adding the film will end with the conclusion of the 1986-1987 season.
Images from the Broncos' 1989 Memorial Cup win will play during the end credits, he said.
Sudden Death's success has surprised Drinnan. Since its release in October, he's received emails and phone calls from people saying how reading the book has brought back memories.
"It's amazed me from the start how much interest there is in it," he said. "I think it's fair to say this (story) is one of those where-were-you-when-it-happened moments'."