Gabriele Muccino, the serious minded drama director behind the Will Smith tear-jerkers Seven Pounds & The Pursuit of Happyness is to make his most commercial and clearly small-minded film yet with Playing The Field, a Nu Image/Millennium Films soccer comedy starring Gerard Butler, Uma Thurman and Jessica Biel.
Variety says Butler, who seems to be enjoying his film star status a little too much post-’300′ and hasn’t done anything of note in his career for the past five years, will play a troubled father and former semi-pro soccer player who attempts to make up for lost time by coaching his son’s team to success, but gets romantically entangled with the local soccer moms. One of which is Thurman, whilst Biel will play Butler’s ex-wife who is now engaged to another man.
Robbie Fox’s (So I Married An Axe Murderer) script was previously a baseball comedy titled “Confessions of a Little League Coach”, but has been dumbed down a little since then, and besides it always did sound a little like a 70′s soft-porn film that would be shown on Channel 5. And as Europeans don’t really touch baseball, moving the sport to soccer brings with it a bigger international audience.
Filming begins next month, before Butler then moves over to Curtis Hanson’s surfing movie Mavericks, his first real movie in years.
As a side note, it was also reported yesterday that Muccino was being courted by Lakeshore Entertainment to direct Adaline, a supernatural rom-com that publically blew-up last year when star Katherine Heigl and director Andy Tennant backed out of the film just weeks before shooting.
That supernatural romance was to find Heigl as a young woman who after a car-crash finds that she stops aging (!!) and after having lived alone for almost a century, she meets a young man for whom she’d give up her immortality. The bizarre movie was to find actress Angela Lansbury, in her 80′s, playing Heigl’s daughter.
It sounds like the production on Adaline is happy to wait until next January when Muccino will be free and also to allow Lakeshore to find a new lead.
Why all these sickly sweet rom-coms for Muccino? Well he’s probably taken the public bashing of Seven Pounds to heart and didn’t like the criticism that the movie was to depressing…..