Gloucestershire

Eddie the Eagle 'feared film would make him a joke'

Hugh Jackman, Eddie Edwards and Taron Egerton at the UK premiere Image copyright AP
Image caption Hugh Jackman said the story had "underdog" appeal

Britain's best known ski-jumper Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards has admitted he was worried a film based on his life might portray him as a "joke".

Edwards, 52, became a household name when he famously came last at the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988.

Speaking at the UK premiere of Eddie The Eagle, he said he feared it might show him as "an object of ridicule" but it had "kept the heart" of his story.

One of the stars, Hugh Jackman, said "underdog" stories had wide appeal.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Edwards has said that Taron Egerton looks "uncannily" like him in the film

Britain's first and most famous Olympic ski jumper was working as a plasterer in Cheltenham when he qualified, entirely self-funded, for the Calgary Games.

Despite finishing last in both the 70m and 90m events, he captured the nation's imagination and became a household name.

Edwards, who now lives in Stroud, Gloucestershire, said: "I was worried that they would either turn me into some sort of superhero, or worse - an object of ridicule, a clown, a joke, but they've done a fantastic job.

"And they kept the heart, the essence and the spirit of the story just right."

He told BBC Points West it was "very close" to the truth: "The only things that were really obvious were that my dad was just as supportive as my mum, which isn't shown in the film, and Hugh Jackman was an amalgamation of all my coaches."

Image copyright AP
Image caption Flying high: Edwards said he had offered Taron Egerton skiing lessons

Jackman, who plays fictional coach Bronson Peary, said: "We've all felt like underdogs at some point.

"I think that's why we love seeing these stories, to watch someone who did it and also who did it with such fun and charisma and positivity."

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