Oscar-winning producer David Parfitt and UK-based production companies Bob & Co and Paradine Productions are developing Poster Boy, based on the life of German tennis champ Gottfried von Cramm who refused to be used as a pawn by the Nazi party. Patrick Ryecart is penning the script which is currently out to market. The project was initially originated with the late David Frost after Ryecart began to research von Cramm’s story two decades ago.
Von Cramm was an ace on the court, dominating the sport during the 1930s. The Nazi regime attempted to exploit his skill, and Aryan looks, as a symbol of the party, but von Cramm constantly and publicly refused any association.
As his fame and popularity grew, the global star became an enemy of the Nazis, often playing for his life on court and off. Von Cramm was persecuted as a homosexual by the Hitler regime and imprisoned on morals charges, but international pressure forced his release. Once he was free to pursue his international career, a question became: would the British tennis establishment support von Cramm, allowing him to play against the wishes of the German ruler?
During the ’30s, von Cramm won the French Open twice and finaled at Wimbledon several times, rallying with such legends as Fred Perry and Don Budge. In England, he is most remembered for a deciding match against Budge during the 1937 Davis Cup.
Ryecart, who is best known as an actor (The King’s Speech, The Crown) says, “I have been researching on this for many years initially supported by my dear friend the late David Frost and his company, Paradine. With a script now ready, I am delighted to be working with Bob & Co and David Parfitt on this thrilling international story.”
Parfitt (Shakespeare In Love, My Week With Marilyn) says, “Patrick has researched this story in incredible and precise detail and is now the world authority on von Cramm. We are very excited that Patrick has entrusted us with his ‘baby’ and we look forward very much to bringing this story to the screen.”
Hilary Strong, the newly appointed CEO of Bob & Co adds, “This is exactly the sort of important international story that we’re looking to tell and we’re excited to be working again with David to bring it to the screen.”
Parfitt is producing the project, which is being eyed either as a TV mini or a feature. Bob & Co’s Bob Benton and Strong are executive producers.