Hugh Jackman, Taron Egerton and former Winter Olympic athlete Eddie Edwards turned out for the European premiere of Eddie the Eagle in London on 17 March. The film is inspired by the true story of Michael 'Eddie' Edwards, the unlikely sportsman who became the first competitor to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping. Despite his relatively poor performance at the 1988 Calgary games, Edwards captured the hearts of fans and the media with his enthusiasm and never-say-die attitude.
The titular role is played by rising British talent Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service and Legend), while Australian actor Hugh Jackman portrays his fictional coach Bronson Peary. When asked about the appeal of playing an underdog character, Egerton said: "Well I was a huge fan when I heard about Eddie, which happened when we first started talking about a movie. But we always wanted to create something that was very affectionate and celebratory and, you know, championed him and reminded people that, actually, what he did was a really cool, amazing thing."
Edwards himself expressed surprise at seeing his life on the big screen. "I never thought 28 years ago that this would happen, and that they would make a film about my life and that it would be so good," said the 52-year-old. "They've done a fantastic job. And I've seen it three times and I cry every time I see it, and I just hope I don't cry tonight, but I'm trying to hold it together."
Egerton, who was nominated for a rising star award at this year's Baftas, has seen his profile rise in recent days due to speculation over Disney's search for a young Han Solo. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he could be one of three actors being considered for the iconic part, made famous by Harrison Ford, who will appear in the Star Wars standalone film due in 2018. The other contenders are Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) and Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age of Extinction).
Eddie the Eagle is already out in the US. It is continuing its global rollout, hitting cinemas in China on 18 March and in the UK on 28 March.