Zachary Levi, the star of the DC movie Shazam and the voice of Flynn Rider in Disney’s Tangled, is taking on a very different role for his next project. Lionsgate has announced that Levi will play former NFL standout QB Kurt Warner in sports drama called American Underdog, according to Collider.
David Aaron Cohen, who worked on the football TV show Friday Night Lights, is writing the script. The story will follow the real life of Warner, who indeed had an underdog story. After playing college football, Warner did not get drafted into the NFL, but he tried out for the Green Bay Packers. The team ultimately cut him, and Warner went home to Cedar Falls, Iowa to stock shelves at a grocery store.
Warner eventually signed with the Arena Football League’s Iowa Barnstormers, and he performed incredibly well. He was so successful that Midway made a game about him, Kurt Warner’s Arena Football Unleashed, which was released in 2000.
Later on, Warner finally got his shot in the NFL after signing with the St. Louis Rams where he won the Super Bowl in the year 2000. He was also named Super Bowl MVP for his performance in the game.
Given this incredible story, it’s surprising that a movie wasn’t made sooner. Whatever the case, brothers Jon and Andrew Erwin are directing American Underdog, with Kurt and his wife Brenda Warner producing. The movie is based on Warner’s memoir, All Things Possible: My Story of Faith, Football, and the First Miracle Season. The Erwin brothers are Christian movie directors who previously directed the independent movies I Can Only Imagine and I Still Believe. Levi is also known for being outspoken about his faith.
“Kurt’s story is one of relentless faith–in his own abilities but even more so in a higher power,” Levi said in a statement. “When I read Kurt’s story, I identified with the quiet strength he found to persevere–that’s something I think anybody can recognize in their own lives. This is the kind of underdog story that sports movies are all about, and the fact that it’s true makes it even more special. I’m thrilled to be part of bringing his story to audiences.”
Jon Erwin said Levi was his “first and only choice” for the role of Kurt Warner. “This is about an everyman who never let his dream die. Zachary was born to play this role–and when you add in his uncanny resemblance to Kurt Warner, we’re thrilled to be working with him,” Andrew Erwin said.
There is no word yet on when filming will begin or when American Underdog will come to theatres.