Taika Waititi Is Directing a Soccer Movie

When you have directed a cult classic like What We Do in the Shadows and a a massively successful Marvel movie like Thor: Ragnarok (which is getting a highly anticipated sequel), your career no longer qualifies as an underdog story. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still tell those kinds of stories, which is what director Taika Waititi will do with his next film. He will head to the pitch to adapt the 2014 award-winning British documentary Next Goal Wins, which explored the American Samoa soccer team’s quest to go from international laughingstock to possible World Cup qualifiers.

Deadline reports Waititi will write and direct a feature for Fox Searchlight based on the sports doc directed by Mike Brett and Steve Jamison. It followed Dutch coach Thomas Rongen’s efforts to take the American Samoa soccer team, which was essentially non-competitive on the world stage, to respectability… and maybe even to the World Cup. Next Goal Wins premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, and went on to win the British Independent Film Awards’s Best Documentary.

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Image: Paramount Pictures

Waititi will adapt it with Iain Morris (The Inbetweeners) at Imaginarium Productions, where Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish optioned the rights to the documentary in 2015. According to Variety, filming on the movie will begin this fall. Don’t worry about this impacting Waititi’s work on Thor: Love and Thunder; he has already completed the script for the next Odinson film, which won’t begin shooting until 2020. In the meantime, Waititi’s satirical comedy Jojo Rabbit, where he plays an imaginary Hitler, will debut in September at the Toronto International Film Festival.

It’s hard to think of three more different movies for anyone to direct, but if anyone can pull it off it’s Taika. His next movie might be about underdogs, but Taika Waititi himself is anything but.

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