Taika Waititi Names His New Movie “The Ultimate Underdog Story”

Will Arnett returns (at least relatively speaking) to his indie roots with his next film, Next goal wins. An adaptation of the documentary of the same name, the film tells the story of the American Samoa soccer team’s 31-0 defeat to Australia in 2001, and how that humiliation shaped a quest to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. Michael Fassbender will play Dutch-born, American-based coach Thomas Rongen, who brought the football club on board to help them turn things around, and Will Arnett will play a football manager who works at the Football Federation American Samoa, a role that was originally set to be played by Armie Hammer.

Waititi broke into the mainstream in a big way What we do in the shadows, and has since become one of the most loved and acclaimed filmmakers in the world. He has blockbusters like interspersed Thor: Ragnarok with Oscar ace like Jojo Rabbitand actually shot Next goal wins before going into production Thor: Love and Thunder. The pandemic and the need for Thor reaching a release date seemingly delayed the release of this movie.

“It’s the ultimate underdog story,” Waititi said empire magazine. And telling it in a new form had a personal resonance for the filmmaker. “It’s very important to me that it takes place in Polynesia, because it’s my people. We stay together. It was like seeing myself up there, my family up there, when I saw that documentary, which is so perfect in so many ways. And giving a wider audience access to that story was one of my main goals. It was really important to me to bring our backyard to people and get brown faces on screen. I loved it.”

Next goal wins will star Michael Fassbender, Will Arnett, Elisabeth Moss, David Fane, Beulah Koale, Oscar Kightley, Lehi Falepapalangi and more. The film is produced by Andy Serkis, Jonathan Cavendish, Garrett Basch, Mike Brett, Steve Jamison and Waititi, who co-wrote the project with Iain Morris. Imaginarium Productions, a digital performance-capture studio founded by Serkis and Cavendish in 2011, has optioned the rights to Next goal wins. The original documentary was directed in 2014 by Mike Brett and Steve Jamison.

Are you excited to watch Waititi play the World Cup? Have you seen the original documentary? Sound off below or head over to @russburlingame on Hive Social to talk all about Taika (except Green Lantern).

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