Zachary Levi has played a Disney prince, DC hero and Marvel sidekick, and now the actor has just signed on to play real-life football legend Kurt Warner in American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story. The Shazam! lead is set to begin production for the upcoming drama that tells the inspiring story of the NFL hall of famer and Super Bowl MVP. Anyone hearing Oscar bells?
The plans for American Underdog have just been announced by Lionsgate. The movie will be made by the Erwin Brothers, who have found success telling true stories rooted in faith for the past decade, including the release of I Still Believe starring K.J. Apa and Britt Robertson earlier this year. Zachary Levi was the filmmaking team’s first and only choice for the role.
Andrew Erwin, who will co-direct the movie with his brother Jon Erwin, said Zachary Levi is “born to play” Kurt Warner, an Iowa native who later led the St. Louis Rams to Super Bowl victory during his first season as a starter (the only quarterback to ever do so besides Tom Brady). Zachary Levi spoke about his new role with these words:
Kurt’s story is one of relentless faith – in his own abilities but even more so in a higher power. When I read Kurt’s story, I identified with the quiet strength he found to persevere – that’s something I think anybody can recognize in their own lives. This is the kind of underdog story that sports movies are all about, and the fact that it’s true makes it even more special. I’m thrilled to be part of bringing his story to audiences.
Along with having the writing team behind the heartbreaking story of Christian songwriter Jeremy Camp, I Still Believe, the scribe behind 2004’s Friday Night Lights David Aaron Cohen is also on board to write, and Kurt Warner and his wife Brenda will produce with Mark Ciardi (Rookie, Invincible). American Underdog is based off interviews with the football star and his 2009 memoir All Things Possible: My Story of Faith, Football, and the First Miracle Season.
The filmmakers also attributed Zachary Levi’s “humble charm,” “intense physicality” and “uncanny” resemblance to Kurt Warner to their choice to cast the actor. Levi recently got into incredible physical shape to star in Shazam!, though he did admit his costume was “a liiiiiittle padded.” Since the actor is set to soon resume his role in the Shazam! sequel in the near future, taking on football shape might as well be business as usual.
Shazam! 2 was delayed by Warner Bros seven months to November 4, 2022 once stay-at-home order prevented the film from beginning shooting. When last we heard, writer/director David F. Sandberg was working more closely on the script. The DC film does get priority over other comic book properties due to its young cast members who are already growing up. It sounds like Levi might jump on set for American Underdog first, but Shazam! 2 shooting plans have not been updated yet.
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