Stephan James & JK Simmons To Star In Sports Film ‘National Champions’ – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Golden Globe nominee Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk) and Oscar winner J. K. Simmons (Whiplash) are set to star in sports drama National Champions, we can reveal.

Homecoming and 21 Bridges star James will play a star quarterback who ignites a players’ strike hours before the biggest game of the year in order to fight for fair compensation, equality, and respect for the athletes who put their bodies and health on the line for their schools.

STX has boarded world rights to the film, which will be directed by Angel Has Fallen and Greenland filmmaker Ric Roman Waugh and is being produced through John Wick producer Basil Iwanyk’s Thunder Road and his sports-themed label game1.

The film is set to shoot in New Orleans next month and is being fully financed by BondIt Media Capital and The Capstone Group. CAA Media Finance Group and Range Media Partners brokered the distribution deal with STX.

Written by Adam Mervis and based on his play of the same name, producers are Basil Iwanyk and Brendon Boyea for Thunder Road and Greg Economou for game1. Executive producers are Jonathan Fuhrman of Thunder Road, Matthew Helderman and Luke Taylor of Bondit Media Capital, Christian Mercuri of The Capstone Group,  Michael Smith, and Adam Mervis.

“Our experience with Ric on Greenland was nothing short of extraordinary,” said STX Chairman Adam Fogelson. “When we had the opportunity to work with him and our friends at Thunder Road and game1 on National Champions, we jumped at the chance. This is a film that taps into important issues and does it with compelling, authentic, and memorable characters. In the best tradition of sports dramas, they will leave audiences rooting for victory and perhaps considering the competitive nature of college sports and athletics in a different way.”

Justice League and Whiplash actor Simmons will next be seen alongside Chris Pratt in the sci-fi thriller The Tomorrow War. Next out for James is crime-drama Delia’s Gone while Chiwetel Ejiofor-directed drama Rob Peace, produced by Antoine Fuqua, is in pre-production.

Waugh is represented by Range MP; James is represented by Norbert Abrams of Noble Caplan Abrams, Range MP and CAA; Simmons is represented by Gersh and Wolf Kasteler; Mervis is represented by Grandview and A3.

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