The director’s next project Taika Waititi It will not be related to the superheroes that have marked the last years of his film career, since it will be a dramatization of a British football documentary released in 2014 under the name of Next Goal Wins (Next Goal Wins).
Focusing on the Dutch coach Thomas Ronger, who will be played by Michael Fassbender, the story will focus on his seemingly impossible task: that the American Samoan soccer team win games in the qualifying route of a Soccer World Cup.
Made under the umbrella of Searchlight Pictures, the film will focus on the path of “the worst team in the world”, taking as its starting point their gigantic 31-0 loss to Australia in the 2002 World Cup qualifier, to seek to recover of that undignified result and the fact that they had conceded 229 goals and had only scored 12.
“It’s the definitive story of the underrated,” explained the director in conversation with Empire magazine. “That it take place in Polynesia is very important to me, because it is my people. We stick together. It was like seeing myself up there, seeing my family up there, when I saw that documentary, which is so perfect in so many ways,” Waititi said.
“One of my main goals was for a wider audience to have access to that story. Bringing our backyard closer to people and putting brown faces on the screen was a big challenge for me. I just loved it,” she added.
Next Goal Wins It was filmed before Waititi finalized his work on Thor: Ragnarok, but the focus on the Marvel Studios film and the pandemic itself caused the film to only hit the big screen over the next year.
The other relevant thing is that Will Arnett will play a leader of the Samoan Federation, in a role that was originally performed by Armie Hammer and that had to be refilmed due to the accusations against the actor.
In addition, the film will also address the story of Jaiyah Saelua, a fa’afafine player, a recognized third gender in Polynesian society, who established herself as the first non-binary trans woman to participate in a FIFA qualifying match.
The rest of the cast includes Elisabeth Moss, David Fane, Beulah Koale, Oscar Kightley, and Lehi Falepapalangi, among others.