The question most asked of Eddie George throughout our run of Othello was “Why Shakespeare?” It’s a valid question. Why would a Heisman Trophy winner and former pro-football player choose to take on works that even an Oscar-winning actor would tell you are not for the faint of heart. The simple answer, as Eddie will tell you, is that he fell in love with it. The more complex answer is the subject of 60 MINUTES SPORTS Correspondent Armen Keteyian‘s report on Eddie’s remarkable reinvention into a Renaissance man premiering Wed. Feb. 5 at 9 p.m. CT only on SHOWTIME.
A force to be reckoned with on the football friend, Eddie George won the Heisman in 1995 in college, was awarded the designation of NFL rookie of the year, was a 4-time Pro-bowl selection in the NFL and led the Tennessee Titans to the Super Bowl. But then it ended. He was deeply depressed, he says, and used therapy to cope with it.
The experience helped him inhabit the role of Othello. Post NFL for him or post war for Othello, “Without that purpose, you’re just floundering in the wind.”
Eddie began his acting quest eight years ago, hiring acting coaches and getting big roles in action films, some of which he now says were not stellar performances. A trip to Broadway inspired him to greater heights. “I watched Jude Law do Hamlet on Broadway. I was so engaged I said ‘That’s what I want to do.’ It’s smart and it stretches you as an actor.” And he wanted to do it with the resolve of a star running back on first and goal. “I want to be one of the best Shakespearean actors I can possibly be,” he tells Keteyian.
After working with him on both Julius Caesar and Othello, we believe he can do it.
60 MINUTES SPORTS cameras were there for the opening night of Othello, as well as during final rehearsals. Watch a preview below and then catch the program on Showtime on February 5th at 9 p.m. CT.