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Gerard Butler begins playing the field

April 5, 2011 | 11:51 am

There hasn't been a good soccer-based movie in a long time -- you have to go back to "Bend It Like Beckham" in 2003, if not before. Gerard Butler will try to change that.

The Scottish actor (and Celtic fan) this week began shooting "Playing the Field," a story about soccer, the suburbs and sexual attraction.  The sport will serve as a backdrop for what is a kind of "Shampoo" set amid American manicured lawns.

According to a person familiar with the production who was not authorized to speak about it publicly,  Stuart Blumberg -- the "Kids Are All Right" co-writer who garnered an Oscar nomination for penning the family dramedy -- recently came on to write a new draft of Rob Fox's script.

Despite the American setting, the project has a transatlantic feel. Italian director Gabriele Muccino ("The Pursuit of Happyness," the original Italian-language "Last Kiss") is behind the camera.

Butler and Jessica Biel play an estranged couple, with the cast also including Judy Greer and Catherine Zeta-Jones, who 24 Frames has learned have recently signed on, joining Dennis Quaid and Uma Thurman. In addition to Butler, Heidi Jo Markel, Kevin Misher, Jonathan Mostow and Alan Siegel are producing, with Millennium Films the producing and financing entity.

Originally conceived as a Little League story (title: "Confessions of a Little League Coach") the project has morphed into a tale about footy. Basically, it involves an accomplished Beckham-like pro (Butler) who after living a playboy life throughout Europe returns to his estranged American wife and child to try to reconcile with them. He begins coaching youth soccer to show his commitment.

But things get sticky when a number of the local women take a shine to him, including characters played by Thurman (Quaid's wife), Zeta Jones (a vixen newscaster) and Greer (a hot-and-bothered housewife). The comedy has distribution around the world and will be seeking a U.S. home.

With the MLS season underway and Champions League play hitting the quarterfinals, thoughts (for some) turn to soccer. And, perhaps, to soccer movies.


Gerard Butler and a soccer movie: A match made in Scottish heaven?

Why is there no great Hollywood soccer movie?

Will a Butler be born?

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Gerard Butler. Credit: Hannibal Hanschke/EPA

Comments () | Archives (5)

The comments to this entry are closed.

so glad to see gerard butler making a movie that will be great, just like all his other ones---thank you for being you---love from your most devoted fan!!!!!

There have been quite a few good soccer movies in recent years - The Damned United, Looking for Eric, arthouse film Zidane: Portrait of the 21st Century. Bollywood's turned out a few - I really like Dahn Dahna Dahn Goal (epic movie about a team of South Asian players in London). Shaolin Soccer is a campy good time, and cult favorite. Rudo y Cursi is hilarious, totally worth watching. This is not to touch on documentaries (Substitute, Kill the Referee)...

Anyway, this particular film sounds scary: Desperate AYSO Housewives.

On the surface it may seem like a shmaltzy movie, but there's plenty of talent in this lineup to make it worthwhile and entertaining. I can't wait to see it! :-)

This lineup just shows how out of touch casting directors and producers are with reality. Butler (42) goes back to his estranged wife Biel (29) and child???? In what suburban soccer field does that dynamic exist? It doesn't. It exists only in the West Side backyards of LA where these people think the rest of the country is just like them.

This guy here Mr. Butler is so cordial and nice to the little people he comes across to work with.
(Extras) on the set. Don't find this to often .
Still has his head on earth and not above the rest.
Thank you Mr. Butler for treating people like people.
Tammie Wiltz


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