Doug Liman, director of Warner Bros. Edge of Tomorrow, is in talks to direct Victory, a remake of the 1981 John Huston drama, THR reports. Victory brings together one very American and one not-so-American thing, prison and soccer, in a story where a group of inmates in a German POW camp are matched up against ze German National Team in Nazi occupied Paris. Meanwhile, our heroes plot to escape from the camp after the game. The original drama starred Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, Max Von Sydow, and Pele with other soccer legends.
While World Cup fever has taken a hold of America, the “beautiful game” has been noticeably absent in Hollywood, where studios tend to veer towards football, baseball, basketball, and somehow, dodgeball for their sports fix. Even the soccer films most American audiences might be familiar with are overwhelmingly British productions; The Damned United, Bend it Like Beckham, Green Street Hooligans, and Fever Pitch. The last of which actually inspired an American remake directed by the Farrelly Brothers but which was predictably changed from a soccer to a baseball-themed film (although, admittedly, Red Sox fans may be the closest thing we have to the mega-fans that represent most European football clubs).
The recent surging interest in a sport which has long been relegated to only drawing youth league level crowds (see Will Ferrell’s Kicking and Screaming for what is perhaps, sadly, the most accurate American soccer movie) may have been a catalyst for Warner Bros. and Liman to try their hand at a soccer picture. With the Portugal versus U.S.A. match drawing over 18 million viewers, the most ever for a World Cup game for ESPN, and the absurd turn-out of viewing crowds appearing in places like Chicago’s Grant Park, it may seem that ‘football’ is finally having it’s day here in the States.
Whatever the reason, Warner Bros. seems determined to put it’s weight behind this remake, which is being penned by Gavin O’Connor, no stranger to sports movies or vaguely, single-titled projects (Miracle and Warrior).