NFL’s Oldest Cheerleader Making Her Soon-To-Be Big Screen Debut
New Line Cinema is currently in the works to create a film that follows the enduring journey of the NFL’s oldest cheerleader. Laura Vikmanis sat down with WLW Radio in Cincinnati to discuss her strenuous tale of how it all began, the reactions of her two teenage daughters on the whole situation, how she deals with the fact she is twice the age of most of her teammates, how she stays in optimum physical shape, and how the talk of a movie deal all surfaced in the first place.
Vikmanis decided she would try out for the Cincinnati Ben-Gals a couple of years ago after she struggled through an ugly divorce, ending in her husband leaving her for a younger woman. She made it to the final round of the audition process but did not land her name on the final team roster. Although she didn’t make the final cut, she was proud she even made it that far. The rejection fueled her to work even harder which led to her making the team the very next season. When asked how it all began, she didn’t hesitate to respond:“In a nutshell, I was in a very unhappy marriage and I was in a process of a divorce, which took a very long time. During that time, I said to myself, ‘I am so unhappy. What can I do to really get myself back to myself and really enjoy myself in life?’ … Finally, I went to a game and I saw the cheerleaders down on the field and I said, ‘I think I can do that.’ … I ended up going to the clinic, I tried out, at that time I made it all the way to the finals but I didn’t make it. … I went on to try out the next year and I ended up making it.”
When it comes to the matter of her age, 42-year-old Vikmanis didn’t hesitate to express her feeling of intimidation when competing against such younger women.“Not only was it just personally intimidating with just all the stuff that I was trying to overcome myself, but then walking in to that kind of environment. Physically, these girls are beautiful, they have great personalities, they dance great, and I was just thinking to myself, ‘If I can just go through the tryout without falling apart, I will be happy.’ … It was unexpected that first time I tried out to even make it to the finals.”
After overcoming her personal struggle of whether or not to even try out for the team, Vikmanis still had another challenge that she had to overcome; the reaction of her two teenage daughters.“The first time I told them I was going to try out they were like, ‘What?’ and they were a little embarrassed. … I live in a neighborhood of suburbs and suburban moms. For me to step out of that traditional suburban mom, they were really embarrassed. … When I told them about the movie … they are so excited.”
Contrary to many people’s belief, Vikmanis not only made the team, but was also one of the most physically fit women there. The fact that she is a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer only helped contribute to the equation. She runs a weight-loss program which helps her stay on track and she also stated that she consistently works out at least five days a week. With tryout season just around the corner, she has been working with a personal trainer along with two other teammates.
Vikmanis openly admitted that she never could have imagined becoming an NFL cheerleader, let alone have a movie made about it. She describes her past and present experiences as “surreal and so exciting.”
When asked about how the movie deal came about, Vikmanis explained,“Back in like January, Yahoo! came to the Bengals and said, ‘We want to do a story on a cheerleader,’ so they did that. … Finally I started getting offers from cable companies and other big feature film companies. I actually ended up having to get an agent, which is crazy to even say. … When New Line came, they had the whole package deal where they could do the whole entire thing.”
With the constant talk of whether or not there will even be a 2011 season, Vikmanis proudly said her and her teammates are going to continue to go about their business as usual in hopes that they do in fact have a season. She explained that they keep busy doing a lot in the community, so even if there isn’t a season they will still be out and about.
In addition to Vikmanis’ story, New Line has also purchased a script written by “Gnomeo and Juliet” and “Ratatouille” writers Emily Cook and Kathy Greenberg.
Cook told hollywoodreporter.com, “In her real life, it was easy to find a way into the story. She is a 42-year-old in a sea of 20-year-olds; she’s definitely a fish out of water. It’s a great contrast. And she proved you can reinvent yourself at any age.”
Greenberg also added: “It’s really a feel good populist story in the vein of Blind Side. It’s got more comedy to be sure, but it’s an earnest story.”
Although final production may be a while from now, the ultimate question is what do you think? Would you go see it?
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