On January 9th, The W Hotel in Boston hosted the announcement of Turk: The Movie. The film will be a bio-pic about the now infamous former Boston Bruins player Derek Sanderson based on his book Crossing the Line: The Outrageous Story of a Hockey Original. The event was hosted by Boston sports broadcaster Bob Lobel and was jam packed with hockey fans, movie enthusiasts and a variable who’s who of local celebrities.
The movie will be directed by Doug Atchison who is best known for his film Akeelah and the Bee. Writer/director/actor Edward Burns will be one of the film’s producers and will play Derek Sanderson’s father in the movie. The people behind the film did not announce who will play the title character or other characters like Hall of Famer Bobby Orr. When asked who might play him Orr joked, “No idea. I can assure you I will not be in the movie.”
The event featured Derek Sanderson, Bobby Orr, Edward Burns, Doug Atchison and a couple of the film’s producers and a 9 minute teaser about Derek’s life was played to big applause. Boston Bruins legend Johnny Bucyk was also there. Sanderson shared some stories of his life and how he got the nickname Turk and once again thanked Bobby Orr for saving his life.
For those that don’t know Sanderson’s story, he grew up playing hockey in Canada and became part of the Boston Bruins organization in the 1960s. After winning Rookie of the Year and two Stanley Cup championships with the Bruins, his life slowly started to lose control because of alcohol. He left the Bruins to sign with the upcoming World Hockey Association where he became the first athlete to sign a contract worth over a million dollars. With the money came more fame, but also more booze and drugs. At one point Sanderson even owned a club with New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath and both men were well known womanizers. As he spiraled out, he bounced around from different hockey teams and eventually left professional hockey. The low point of his life found him homeless and in New York City sleeping on park benches and stealing alcohol to get by. In stepped Bobby Orr who sent Sanderson to rehab and got him a job. Sanderson would eventually find himself on TV announcing the Bruins games and happily married with children. Ed Burns calls it, “A great redemption story, a father/son story, most importantly, a look at a real friendship that withstood a lot of tough times.”
The film will shoot in Boston and will also feature stock footage of Sanderson, Orr and the rest of the Big Bad Bruins of the 60s and 70s. Boston has changed a lot physically since then, but director Doug Atchison discussed a little bit about that. “What we have to do is find those parts of Boston that do look like they did back then and those that don’t, we make them look that way. We have all kinds of tools at our disposal. We have art directors and production designers who will dress it and we have these wonderful tools called computers that you can use to adjust things as well. My intention is to make a really good movie. Yes this is a hockey movie, but it’s so much more. That is one course in a multi-course meal that (fans) will get. It’ll be colorful, it’ll be impactful, it’ll be emotional and satisfying so that’s our goal.”
The film will be using lots of locals so Bruins fans get excited. Big thank you to Chris Palermo for the Atchison quote and Casey Sherman and Paula Gates for the invite. An extra special thanks to Derek Sanderson, Bobby Orr and especially Edward Burns for a fantastic evening.
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