Updated Nov. 17, 2021 at 11:35 a.m. ET
The inspiring true story of American football quarterback Kurt Warner is the first faith and family Lionsgate film to earn a coveted Christmas Day release — indicating God is "opening doors" in film, director Andy Erwin has said.
Starring Zachery Levi ("Shazam," "Chuck") and Anna Paquin, the drama tells the true story of Warner, who went from stocking shelves at a supermarket to becoming a Super Bowl-winning MVP.
The film reunites Levi with directors Jon and Andy Erwin, who previously worked with the actor for their faith-based movie “The Unbreakable Boy.” The film is produced by Kevin Downes along with Mark Ciardi (“The Rookie,” “Miracle” and “Secretariat”), Warner and his wife, Brenda.
"God is opening doors in film that I never thought was possible — that John and I and Kevin, our producing partner, have only dreamed of,” Andy Erwin shared in a recent interview with The Christian Post.
Erwin told CP the "story turned out fantastic” and “Lionsgate really supported it.”
"We're so excited about how it turned out, so much so that Lionsgate gave us a Christmas Day release, which has never happened for anything involving faith, so it's incredible,” he added.
The filmmaker, who along with his brother is behind the blockbuster hit, “I Can Only Imagine,” said he's excited for viewers to see “American Underdog.”
"It's really just a story of a man fighting for his family with his wife,” Erwin continued. “He married a single mom, Brenda, and she had two kids, one of which was special needs, who is blind. He fell in love with his family and it was those people that put the heart of the champion in him.”
“'American Underdog' tells the inspirational true story of Warner, who went from a stock boy at a grocery store to a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion and Hall of Fame quarterback. The film centers on Warner's unique story and years of challenges and setbacks that could have derailed his aspirations to become an NFL player — but just when his dreams seemed all but out of reach, it is only with the support of his wife, Brenda, and the encouragement of his family, coaches and teammates that Warner perseveres and finds the strength to show the world the champion that he already is inside,” reads the film's synopsis.
The feature was written by David Aaron Cohen (“Friday Night Lights”) and Jon Gunn (“I Still Believe”) as well as Jon Erwin (“I Can Only Imagine”). It's based on Warner’s memoir, All Things Possible: My Story of Faith, Football and the First Miracle Season, as well as personal testimonies from the athlete.
“This movie perfectly aligns with the emotions of the holiday season: The power of faith. A drive to bring out the best in all of us. The strength of family. And, of course, the height of the NFL championship season,” said Joe Drake, the chair of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group, in a statement to CP.
“When you take all of that together, the perfect release date for this movie is Christmas Day, and that’s where we have decided to date it,” he added.
Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org She's also the author of the book, What Is Happening to Me? How to Defeat Your Unseen Enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic