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8/10/10 - Gerard Butler and a soccer movie: A match made in Scottish heaven?

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Gerard Butler and a soccer movie: A match made in Scottish heaven?

August 10, 2010 | 6:44 pm

Back when the World Cup was getting underway, my colleague John Horn asked in this sharp piece why there were so many movies about baseball but so few about soccer. The most successful soccer film in recent years is probably "Bend It Like Beckham," but the hits don't go much beyond that.

That score may get a little less lopsided as "Slide," a movie about a father with a dubious past brought in to coach his son's Little League baseball team, looks to be reconfigured as a soccer movie.

There's new momentum for the project, with producers in talks with Gerard Butler to star as the coach (Butler has heretofore been on board only as a producer). Will Smith collaborator Gabriele Muccino, who directed the actor in "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "Seven Pounds," has been interested in directing the movie for some time, though there are still scheduling issues to iron out. Robbie Fox, who wrote "So I Married an Ax Murderer," wrote the screenplay.

The movie, which was originally titled "Confessions of a Little League Coach," is a character comedy that centers on a troubled father trying to make up for lost time by coaching his son's team -- but who finds himself in hot water after some of the local mothers take a little too much of a shine to him (and he to them). Butler has no preferred baseball club that we know of, but is reputed to be a supporter of Glaswegian football team Celtic, which would make the soccer theme a little more resonant than a baseball one.

The picture, which is being produced by Butler's Evil Twins banner, veteran Hollywood producer Kevin Misher and "Surrogates" director Jonathan Mostow, is not formally set up at a studio. It had initially been developed at Sony but could well end up financed independently. If it does end up being distributed by the studio, the switch from baseball to soccer would likely only help the project; Sony, after all, already has a high-profile baseball movie in Brad Pitt's "Moneyball."

While most soccer films are indies or documentaries, the bigger-budget ones here tend to center on the game among kids and teenagers, notably Will Ferrell's "Kicking & Screaming" from back in 2005 or Amanda Bynes' "She's the Man" from 2006. With the World Cup now behind us, it may fall on Gerard Butler to change that, one free kick at a time.

--Steven Zeitchik

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Well..............that's interesting.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I'm sure I would like it no matter which way it went, but soccer would definitely be a change from most sports-related movies that we typically see.

Ren

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Gerry first mentioned this project when he was promoting LAC -

It will be interesting to see where it 'goes' and how long it takes for it to get 'there'! :lol:

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Honestly, I'm totally disappointed. I wanted it to be about baseball. I think being about soccer is kinda silly, but I guess will be more world-wide releasable as opposed to baseball being intrinsically American. SIGH. I trust Gerry's judgment but I truly am disappointed.

However, I'm behind him 100% whatever he does. :)

Lisa

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You know, one thing to consider......

If the sport is baseball, Gerry would almost certainly do an American accent. If the sport is soccer, then the setting could really be anywhere in the world. Maybe he gets to keep his accent. With the exception of How To Train Your Dragon, it's been awhile since he's used his own accent.

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So many kids participate in soccer now so I think soccer would work well!

I'd love to hear his accent too!

Cheryl

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I miss hearing his accent in movies. To me it seems the more Americans he plays, it causes him to lose his Scottish accent when he's just talking regularly in interviews. That would be a shame to lose that sexy Scottish brogue. :tissues:

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http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/movies/2010/08/gerard-butler-soccer-football-celtic-movie.html

Finally, someone realised that with Gerry involved Slide should be about soccer and not baseball. Is it so hard to understand that if you want international appeal you have to go with something that people get everywhere? No offence but baseball is very limited and most people outside US and Japan don't really understand it so they couldn't indentify with the film.

Now let's see how long it will take them to figure out that the film should be shot in Scotland and be about a Scottish Dad who left his family and went to the US some years ago but now has returned to work things out. This way they could explain the mid-Atlantic accent and still have Gerry in his natutal habitat. When is he going to remember that he is ambassador for the Glasgow Film Office (or whatever it's called)?

More importantly when are Gerry and his team and the studios going to accept the fact that people love him for his Scottishness? And also that he is such a better actor when he doesn't have to worry about accents (remember The Jury or Dear Frankie to name just two)?

Theresa

Edited by terezoulini

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I think this is a great idea! Soccer is perfect for Gerry and perhaps he can use his own accent. His best reviews so far have been How to Train your Dragon where he used his own accent so if he can use that in this film it would really be to his benefit. That being said I think (IMHO) the film should be based here in the states. It would run the risk of being a small film seen by very few people like Dear Frankie. Remember Burns is having a tough time getting made. Turn this movie into a regional film it loses its broad appeal. The reality is it might not get the funding under those circumstances. Many kids play soccer here (Hello Soccer Moms!)and you could to a certain extent have a fish out of water element to the interactions between Gerry and the kids that would be fun.

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SIGH all I wanted was to see him in a baseball uniform. :cunning: Has absolutely nothing to do with the movie. :lol:

I hope the script is smart and funny, gets cast well and is a huge success. It would be awesome to have Gerry be able to use his natural voice/accent. :wuv:

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I agree Theresa; Baseball is not so famous a sport outside of US. I relate it to our cricket and that for me is one of the most boring sports ever. I have to assume those financing this project maybe feel it will do better worldwide where football is probably the most popular sport and are thinking of it's global success opposed to just it's US success.

While Gerry seems better in films when nailing an accent is not a priority we have to remember if a foreign actor decides Hollywood is for them then it's to be expected most roles require a US accent and it's something they have to master and master well. The Australians seem to be the best IMHO. He has already done a soccer based movie GOTL and I was quite impressed with his US accent in that. My feelings are if soccer has not been a popular US sport until recently then would the average US 40 year old dad know alot about the sport to coach??. If the answer is it's not been popular then to make it realistic his character being a Scotsman living in US for years would make sense and his US/Scottish twang would fit right in.

Moira

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I really wish that he would be able to use his own Scottish brogue too but I'm willing to bet they won't want it or he won't! I agree with you all....I miss it and I agree with Moira ....the Aussies have mastered the American accent better than others! Like Lisa, which ever way it goes I'll be in my seat at the cinema! :cunning:

:wave: Frannie

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I agree with Moira! Gerry should be a Scotsman in this movie. Soccer has only become popular among children in the US, not adults. Adult males, for the most part, are still into American football not soccer. So it would make more sense that if Gerry were to be coaching soccer to children he should come from a country where he played it himself. THEN he could have his own accent. *SIGH*

~HUGS~ Kathy

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AYSO has been around in the US for years, and kids have been playing soccer for a long time (hence the term "Soccer Mom"). Both my boys, in their 20's, played. I think a role as a soccer coach for an American family would work well. That being said, I still want to hear him use his own voice. LOL

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This should be interesting... Another sports movie :detect:

:erik: Erik's Ebony Eyes :phantom:

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I saw this yesterday. I'm intrigued by the switch from baseball to soccer.

I think it's a good decision. I think the US is really starting to catch on in it's love for soccer, and making this movie on the heels of the World Cup seems like a great idea. And it may just be the area that I came from, but organized soccer was actually far more popular with the kids than organized baseball. I played baseball for about two years, but I played soccer for most of my life. :)

Of course, it will be a shame not to get to see Gerry in the baseball outfit with the tight pants. Woowee his @$$ would look good in those pants! :)

Good thought about Gerry maybe getting to use his own accent in a soccer movie. I definitely think it's time for him to bring it back. I think there are a LOT of people out there who prefer him with the foreign exotic accent, even in the general public, fans aside.

Will they have to change the title though? There's not much sliding in soccer. Maybe Tackle? Hehehe, that could have meanings for on AND off the pitch! :cunning:

Steph

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Hehehehehehehehehehehehehhehe....I think they would have to change the name to something like "The explosion of Soccer Moms" cause with Gerry as a coach you know and I know there really would be....They'll be trying to put their neighbors kids on the team if they don't have any!

:wave: Frannie

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Steph...you naughty girl...I'd like to tackle Gerry and I do think his bum would look great in those tight baseball pants. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the movie is filmed somewhere here in the states. If so, I'm going to try to get a role in the movie since I missed out on MGP. It doesn't matter where in the US, it's filmed....I will travel wherever to be in a movie with that man. :cunning:

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I don't think this is going to be a soccer movie. I think the children's soccer is a sideline to the story. Gerry is supposed to be a father trying to make up to his son and estranged wife while having the added problem? of women in his life. I think there will be more off field action than on field action. Just a feeling I have. I think they switched to soccer because Gerry once said he never played baseball as a kid. How could he look convincing as a baseball coach?

~HUGS~ Kathy

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I don't think this is going to be a soccer movie. I think the children's soccer is a sideline to the story. Gerry is supposed to be a father trying to make up to his son and estranged wife while having the added problem? of women in his life. I think there will be more off field action than on field action. Just a feeling I have. I think they switched to soccer because Gerry once said he never played baseball as a kid. How could he look convincing as a baseball coach?

~HUGS~ Kathy

Because he's a terrific actor!! It's his job to convince us that he's things that he isn't! He was also never a serial killer, but we believed him as Clyde! :p

You're right though... Gerry definitely has the know-how and the innate talent to portray a soccer coach. I have to say, I would've had a problem if he'd been the coach of my team. :drool:

Steph

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Well in football you either play at home or play away so I think taking into account the offfield activity they should call the film " Playing Away"

Moira

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I think there will be more off field action than on field action.

FROM YOUR FINGERTIPS TO GOD'S EARS!

Another possible man-whore role! :woo: You know that means?! POTENTIAL FOR LOTS OF MR. PINKY!!! :pointy:

There's no reason he can't be a dad who happens to be from Scotland, but living in the U.S. and using his REAL accent! Uh, Halloooooo, ScotsmanStuart!! This can easily work!

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I logged on with the intention of asking if he is doing a soccer movie because I read it somewhere and so glad you guys started this thread :)

thanks for the information! I thought he was going to do another movie where he plays soccer but you cleared it up for me...

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So, I was thinking how about some "manwhore" converting to father figure. Also there isn't much "sliding" in football/soccer but perhaps he earned the nickname "Slide" because of some special move on the field, (as well as off, if you know what I mean)?

Perhaps also this could be about the comeback of a once popular soccer player like Beckham but he's fallen somewhat from grace, being that his manwhore ways earned him a bit of a bad rep and now he's somewhat of a has been who was a notorious boozer and lady's man, now retired from the game, now a bit burnt out, and who once had a fling with an American lady many years previous. A child came from their one night union, unbeknownst to him, and now that child shows some inherited potential as a soccer player, imitating the famous "slide" move because he wanted to be like his hero. So the mother decides to track him down, telling him that her son is his number one fan and begs him to coach him. When he balks, she tells him the truth and tries emotionally blackmailing him by saying that it's the least he could do after all these years.

He's doubtful at first thinking the woman is just another crazy broad, like many he's encountered, and just wants money or fame. But when she says she can prove it with a simple DNA test, and reminds him it was the night he insisted on the "glow in the dark" condom which broke, he rethinks his position. He knows she's telling the truth now. Unfortunately, he has been out of the game for a while, but he needs something in his life, so he decides, what the heck. So he packs up, comes to the states from his home in Scotland, where he's been out of work, out of the limelight, out of shape, out of practice, and off the Wheaties box. But once the mother meets him and sees the condition he's in, she decides to call it off but he convinces her that he can do it if she just gives him the chance. He's come all this way, after all, and she is quite beautiful.

Once he meets the kid, an automatic bond forms and to his surprise, some fatherly instincts kick in he didn't know he had. So he not only gets himself back in shape, stops drinking, smoking and womanizing, but he comes to the conclusion that he wants to be more a part of the boy's life. However, the mother just wants him to coach the kid through the season and be gone and never tell him the truth ever. So after an agonising while, painfully holding back his feelings for the kid, he finds himself falling in love with the mother and he does everything in order to get closer to her and win her over, which she is very, very resistant to the idea. She doesn't want him, with his past reputation, to be a role model/father figure at all for her son so he sets out to convince her he can change his wild ways.

Meanwhile, half the women and most of the single soccer moms in town are in pursuit of him, constantly distracting him, tempting him. Also a few not so happy,jealous husbands would like to see him gone and they practically form a union complete with torches and pitchforks. The paps get wind of his new "job" and his weherabouts and begin hounding him, trying to catch him out with strippers, etc, in an effort to rekindle his reputation but he plods on, volunteering to stay in spite of all the hoopla and coach the entire team with his still, intact skill as an athlete in an effort to gain respect and admiration, not only with his son and his mother, but the whole town with his goal of bringing the team to eventual glory and the championship.

To add to the drama, the mother is separated from her rather mean spirited, emotionally unavailable estranged husband whom the child has always known as his real dad and the kid badly wants to impress this rather cold hearted man with his playing skills and get him back in to his and his mom's life. Unfortunately, this man is also a Federal Agent for Naturalization and Immigration and will stop at nothing and use everything in his power to get him deported. Or something to that nature. Yeah, I can see that. :)

I think Julia Roberts should play the female lead, don't you?

Delene

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