Gerard Butler, soccer dad.
The LA Times reports that Gerard Butler is in talks to star in “Slide,” a movie about a dad coaching his son’s soccer team. Gabriele Muccino (responsible for Will Smith’s “Seven Pounds” and “Pursuit of Happyness”) is supposed to be interested in directing, although there may be schedule conflicts. Robbie Fox wrote the screenplay.
“Slide” began life as “Confessions of a Little League Father,” a title which conjures pleasantly comedic visions of one of those over the top sports dads who alternates between screaming at coaches and other parents who don’t realize that his kid is the greatest athlete ever and screaming at his kid that he’s never going go make it because he isn’t trying hard enough. The movie would focus on his getting a brutal comeuppance and having to learn to be less of a shit.
Sadly, that is not what this movie is about. It got the soccer makeover, but I’m not sure whether that happened because they were trying to bring in Butler, who is Scottish and has no interest in baseball, or whether they already made the switch to soccer and that’s what attracted Butler (whose Evil Twin production company is also helping to produce). There haven’t been a lot of great soccer movies–there are the kiddie films, like “Ladybugs,” and “Kicking and Screaming.” “Gracie” was a small, independent movie about a girl soccer player fighting for equal rights. “Bend It Like Beckham” was a huge hit that had a soccer setting, but also incorporated teen romance, girl power, and culture clashes. It’s one of those movies where all the elements really worked and it earned its money worldwide. But there has been no great soccer movie from Hollywood (I’m not going to pretend I know of every soccer movie that’s been released around the world), mostly because Americans play soccer as kids, but it’s not a religion here like it is around the rest of the world.
So now the story is about “a troubled father trying to make up for lost time by coaching his son’s team — but who finds himself in hot water after some of the local mothers take a little too much of a shine to him (and he to them).”
Doesn’t sound like a GREAT soccer movie here either, but let’s roll with this. Okay, if they go in the mawkish, “I love you son, you and soccer saved my life and we won the big game” direction, this will not be very interesting. However, I think they should go with the local mother angle. What if a hot coach for a kids’ team suddenly showed up in a neighborhood? Turning this into a sophisticated sex comedy like “Shampoo” could be much more fun.
It feels like it’s been a long time since Gerard Butler had a hit.