Daniel Radcliffe to play Sebastian Coe in sporting drama Gold

The Harry Potter actor will portray the London 2012 chairman and middle distance champion in a new film focusing on his fierce rivalry with fellow Brit Steve Ovett


To younger generations he is better known as Mr Olympics – the man who made London 2012 the huge success it was – but a new sporting drama about Sebastian Coe will focus on the British middle distance runner’s famous track battles with fierce rival Steve Ovett.


Daniel Radcliffe will star as the 1980 and 1984 Olympic champion, reuniting with his Woman in Black director, James Watkins, for the upcoming project, according to Screen Daily. Slumdog Millionaire Oscar-winner Simon Beaufoy is also on board to co-write the script with How to Train Your Dragon’s Will Davies. 

Athletes Coe and fellow Brit Ovett enjoyed one of the sport’s best-known rivalries, having competed with one another since their junior days. But it was the hype ahead of their showdown at the 1980 Moscow Olympics that captured the imaginations of viewers back home, with Coe favourite to win over 800m, while Ovett was tipped to triumph in the 1500m.

In fact, Ovett reached the line first in the shorter race, while Coe took gold in the longer distance, and four years later in Los Angeles it was Coe who retained his 1,500m title, with Ovett unable to offer serious competition thanks to respiratory problems.  

Coe retired from athletics in early 1990 and forged a career in politics, becoming a Conservative MP, before losing his seat in the 1997 general election. He became chairman for London’s 2012 Olympic bid and famously spearheaded the campaign and staging of the Games last summer.

Aptly titled Gold, the upcoming sporting drama of athletics days is based on Pat Butcher’s book, The Perfect Distance, and is due to begin shooting in the UK and Russia in April next year.