Joe Flacco has agreed to play the late Johnny Unitas in the upcoming film Unitas We Stand, but the choice of the Ravens quarterback to portray the former Colt great is dividing the Unitas family.
The screenplay, adapted from the best-selling book Johnny U: The Life and Times of John Unitas, was written by Joe Unitas, the quarterback’s son from his second marriage, and Baltimore-native Nick Slatkin.
According to a statement from Joe Unitas, also one of the film’s producers, Flacco will play Unitas in the action scenes of the 1958 NFL championship win over the New York Giants, a.k.a “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”
"No actor can play QB better than Joe Flacco,” Joe Unitas says on the film’s official website. “This will be groundbreaking.”
However, John Unitas Jr., the Hall of Famer’s oldest son from his first marriage disagrees. Vigorously.
"If you want a quarterback, go with Peyton Manning," John Unitas Jr. said in a recent USA Today story about the film. "My father was just like that. This is a joke.”
John Unitas Jr.’s son, J.C. Unitas, a 24-year-old former Villanova quarterback, had even harsher words regarding the choice of the Ravens’ Super Bowl MVP, referring to Flacco as “a goofball.”
"If you want a real movie, hire a real actor," wrote J.C. Unitas on Facebook, according to USA Today.
According to USA Today, John Unitas Jr. is considering legal action against his half-brother Joe in ongoing battle over the rights associated with their famous father’s last name and story.
No word, yet, apparently from Flacco, other than a statement on the film’s website: “I’m excited and honored by the opportunity to play Johnny Unitas.”
The film is expected to be released in 2014.