Isle of Man TT book could become a film

Biker and ex TT racer Mark Gardiner with a copy of his book 'Riding Man'

Biker and ex TT racer Mark Gardiner with a copy of his book 'Riding Man'

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An insightful book about the TT could be turned into a film.

Canadian Mark Gardiner, a prolific motorcycle journalist and columnist, competed in the 2002 TT races fulfilling an ambition which had been burning since early cbildhood.

His book Riding Man, which describes the experience has been a steady seller ever since.

Now a film of the book has become a real possibility after Mark was approached by independent Hollywood producer Tom Guttry, who he describes as an ‘avid motorcyclist’, who discovered the book.

Two other producers have also joined the team – Mark Clayman who produced the film The Pursuit of Happiness starring Will Smith, and Bob Teitel.

To race in the TT, Mark left his job at an advertising agency in Kansas and lived in the Isle of Man for a year prior to the event.

‘You don’t even know if you have an entry until a few weeks before. I knew I was going to write about it and I knew that to do it I had to move over here,’ he said.

‘I raced in 2002 so I knew in 2001 I had to quit my job. I made the decision – I pulled the trigger on it – sitting writing an ad in an ad agency in Kansas City.’

To work as a film, there will be additional material used which is not included in the book, allowing the story to be character-driven.

‘There is lots of stuff that happened that I left out of the book that can be incorporated to make a Hollywood feature,’ he said.

About a year ago, in what he describes as a ‘huge breakthrough’ the independent American production company Escape Artists took on the project.

With the film Hope Springs, starring Meryl Streep among their recent credits, the company is a major name in the film business.

And the most recent development is they have struck a deal with a major American screen writer who is to produce the screenplay for them.

Once the screen play is finished, the next stage is to enlist a lead actor then interest a film studio in actually putting it into production.

A number of what he terms ‘major academy award winning actors’ are so far interested but cannot be named for fear of harming negotiations. ‘We are hoping to make a major announcement by the end of the year saying it will be made – and filming would have to take place during the TT of course,’ he said.

Mark will be doing book signings at the Ginger Hall on the Wednesday of race week and at Peel Classics on Sunday.

His book Riding Man is available at bookshops around the island.

A film would follow Closer to the Edge, a TT documentary released in 2011 that was one of the most successful film documentaries ever.

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