Last week, runners from all over the world gathered to compete in the 400 meter race, one of track's most exciting events. Eric Eichinger just returned from the London 2012 Olympic Games, where the British were fondly recalling their last 400 meter champion, Eric Liddell.
"I wanted to see if the timing was right to tell the second half of Eric's story," says Eichinger. "We spoke with his family and friends, and all agree this is a story that needs to be told."
Liddell was highlighted in the Academy Award-winning movie Chariots of Fire, in which he honored his Christian faith by refusing to run on Sunday. After winning Olympic gold in 1924, Liddell served as a missionary in China at tremendous personal sacrifice during World War II.
Eichinger won a track scholarship at Michigan State University and served as a teacher in China before attending Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Now, years later, he pastors a Lutheran church near Orlando, Fla., and the story of Liddell has stayed with him.
"While in China, I visited the hospital where Eric Liddell died serving the people he loved. It had a profound effect on me," Eichinger says. "I began researching his life and ultimately, wrote a screenplay entitled Absolute Surrender that reflects his journey after the Olympics."
This summer, Eichinger traveled to Great Britain and Canada to interview Liddell's daughters and nieces as a part of a video series launched on Absolute Surrender's website this week. Along with conversations with family members, Eichinger provides rare footage of little known locations and facts as he follows in the footsteps of Liddell. His goal is to bring awareness to the project and Liddell's remarkable legacy.
"Rev. Eichinger has done all the research and has written an incredible, true story," says filmmaker Howie Klausner, whose screen credits include Space Cowboys, Soul Surfer and The Grace Card. He and his company, Klausner Creative, are partnering with Eichinger on the film's development. "This movie has the potential to influence current generations and change lives."
The group plans to begin production next year.
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