Elisabeth Moss has entered discussions to costar in Taika Waititi and Fox Searchlight’s upcoming true story-inspired sports comedy, Next Goal Wins. Before Thor: Ragnarok made him a household name among cinephiles, Waititi was known for making quirky New Zealand dramedies (or “happy/sad” movies) about lonely outsiders or “losers” – be they vampires adjusting to modern living (What We Do In the Shadows) or a troublemaking juvenile delinquent (Hunt for the Wilderpeople). In that sense, his next film as director marks a return to his storytelling roots.
Based on the acclaimed documentary of the same name, Next Goal Wins tells the story of how the American Samoa international football team attempted to quality for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after suffering a humiliating defeat in 2001 (losing 31-0 to Australia) and spending the thirteen years that followed at the bottom of FIFA’s world rankings. Michael Fassbender is already in talks to star as Thomas Rongen, the Dutch-born American international football coach who took on the “impossible” task of turning the American Samoa team into a winner.
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According to THR, Moss is currently in talks to playing an as-yet unspecified role in Next Goal Wins alongside Fassbender. Should she sign on, the award-winning Mad Men and The Handmaid’s Tale actor will draw from a script that Waititi wrote with The Inbetweeners and What We Do in the Shadows TV show writer Iain Morris. The plan is for filming to begin very soon, before Waiti sets to work directing the sequel to Ragnarok, Thor: Love & Thunder, next year.
As mentioned, the story for Next Goal Win lies firmly in Waititi’s wheelhouse as a filmmaker and, under his guidance, has the potential to be heartbreaking and funny in equal measure. And in case there was even the slightest concern the Kiwi storyteller would white-wash the American Samoa team, THR assures that won’t be the case and says the casting call is currently out for Fa’afafine actors to bring the squad’s members to life. It sounds like Waititi is planning to cast lesser-known in the roles, too, which means Next Goal Wins could end up serving as a breakout vehicle for one or more of them.
Fox Searchlight and Waitit are currently in the midst of their awards season campaign for the director’s “anti-hate” Nazi satire Jojo Rabbit, ahead of its limited theatrical rollout next week. The film only just took home the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival last month, and is expected to earn even more accolades over the months ahead. And though Fox would no doubt love for Next Goal Wins to become an equally serious Oscar contender by this time next year, it’s just good to know we’ll be getting another Waititi comedy between now and Love & Thunder in 2021.
Next Goals Wins does not have an official release date yet.
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