Goldfinch CXLIV – The Ice King

New Black Films and BBC Storyville team up to produce biopic of British figure skater John Curry, the 1976 Olympic and World Champion, who also became one of the first openly gay Olympians.

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Project description

The Ice King’ will tell the heart-rending story of John Curry – a genius trapped by his own demons and a generation lost to a world of prejudice. 

New Black Films, run by Victoria Gregory, James Erskine and Alex Holmes, is teaming with BBC Storyville to produce this biopic of British figure skater John Curry, the 1976 Olympic and World Champion, who also became one of the first openly gay Olympians.

Watch any piece of figure skating and it falls into two camps – before and after John Curry. The greatest skater of all time, in 1976 John Curry singlehandedly transformed a dated sport into an art form with a rebellious balletic routine that defined convention and overcame Cold War politics to win Britain’s first individual Winter Olympic gold since 1908. 

 In an instant he became a global celebrity – but on the very night of his triumph, Curry would confess to a journalist the secret of his homosexuality and the next day’s papers would splash not with his triumph but the shocking revelation of the first openly gay Olympian in a time when homosexuality was not even fully legal, taking the world’s press totally by surprise. 

 From bullying at home, through prejudice at work and relief in the late 1970’s New York gay underworld, to his untimely death from AIDS, this is not only Curry’s story but also the story of a generations struggle for freedom and acceptance. 

 Told in ten intoxicating dances, with access to hundreds of unseen personal letters, the film will trace John Curry’s journey from post-war Birmingham to upstate New York, as he utilises his Olympic triumph to develop his new art form – more than just ballet on ice – and form his company of skaters that sees some of the world’s most hallowed stages – the Royal Albert Hall, the Met Opera sheeted with ice in his honour. Audiences, reviewers, composers and choreographers from around the world are enthralled by his genius. Yet the greatest triumphs are accompanied by financial disaster. Throughout 4 years, he never owned a single home, a permanent fugitive who lived on the favours of the many who loved and cared for him in spite of himself. Despite being eternally in flight, the only place found true freedom was the gleaming mirror of the ice. 

New Black Films who are one of the leading producers of high-end sports documentary and drama in the world, and have been trading since 2010 in the UK. During this period, they have received international acclaim for their productions which include One Night in Turin, The Battle of the Sexes (now a major motion picture with Fox), Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist, Shooting for Socrates and Building Jerusalem among many others. Their award-winning content has been sold to distributors and broadcasters in over 50 countries including BBC, Netflix, HBO, PBS, Discovery, RTE, Canal+ and many others. 

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