Michael Fassbender has entered talks to star in Taika Waititi's upcoming film, Next Goal Wins. The movie will be based on the 2014 documentary of the same name, which chronicles how the American Samoa national football team - known for being one of the worst teams around following a humiliating loss to Australia in 2001 - set out to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Fassbender, should he sign on, will presumably star in Next Goal Wins as Thomas Rongen, the Dutch-born American international football coach hired by the Football Federation American Samoa to get their team into shape in a matter of a few weeks. The film is expected to be a pretty quick shoot, with Waititi directing from a script that he co-wrote with The Inbetweeners writer Iain Morris (who recently collaborated with Waititi on FX's What We Do in the Shadows TV series).
According to THR, Fassbender is in final talks for Next Goal Wins, ahead of production getting underway this fall. The plan is for Waititi to shoot Next Goal Wins for Fox Searchlight before he returns to the Marvel Cinematic Universe ands begins filming Thor: Love & Thunder next year. The movie's producers include Garrett Basch and Andy Serkis, whose Imaginarium Productions was responsible for optioning the rights to the original documentary.
Waititi and Fox Searchlight are coming off their collaboration on Jojo Rabbit, the anti-hate Nazi satire that's fresh off its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The movie has earned mostly positive, but polarizing, reviews for its skewering of the Third Reich so far, further establishing Waititi as one of the specialists in the art of happy/sad cinema (that is, films that often walk the fine line between comedy and tragedy). Waititi is arguably a perfect match for Next Goal Wins for the same reason, as the story of the American Samoa team and its struggles is one that - in the right hands - could be funny and heartbreaking in near equal measure.
Similarly, under Waititi's watchful eye, Next Goal Wins should be able to provide the proper social context and framing for its story, lest it come across as a white savior narrative by way of an inspirational sports dramedy (based on real events or not). Fassbender has a history of making interesting choices when it comes to the non-franchise movies he stars in, and that will continue with him signing on for Next Goal Wins. Who knows: if all the pieces fall into place, the docu-dramedy could even wind giving Waititi and Fox Searchlight their second awards contender in a row after Jojo Rabbit.
Next Goal Wins does not have a release date right now.