EXCLUSIVE: Booksmart filmmaker Olivia Wilde is set to direct Kerri Strug biopic Perfect, which will be among the hottest packages at the EFM in Berlin next week.
The film, based on the book Landing On My Feet, A Diary Of Dreams by Strug and John P. Lopez, tells the true story of the gymnast’s triumph against the odds to win Team USA’s first gold medal at the 1996 Olympics. Strug was hailed as an American hero when she completed her final vault at the Atlanta games on a badly injured ankle to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
In iconic images, Strug was carried onto the medals podium to join her team, after which she was treated at a hospital for tendon damage. She became an instant national hit, visiting President Clinton, appearing on various talk shows, and making the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Hot on the heels of her Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature, Wilde will be in Berlin to discuss the project with buyers. Casting is underway. CAA Media Finance, which arranged financing for the film, will broker domestic rights, with FilmNation handling international.
Producers are Riverstone Pictures and Pulse Films from a script by Ronnie Sandahl (Borg/McEnroe). Nik Bower is producing for Riverstone Pictures and Thomas Benski for Pulse Films, together with Jeremy Baxter and Moss Barclay. Wilde will executive produce with Deepak Nayer, Marisa Clifford and Sandahl.
“This is a film about what real power looks like,” said Wilde. “It is an excruciatingly beautiful underdog story that will thrust the audience into the heart of Kerri Strug with unblinking, raw honesty. It is an epic sports movie that will deliver on all the wish-fulfilment that makes those films so thrilling to watch. At the same time, it is unlike any sports movie you have seen before.”
The partners will likely be hoping for a similar trajectory to well-received 2017 sports movie I, Tonya, which scored breakout box office and multiple Oscar nominations.
Sandahl’s latest screenplay Borg/McEnroe, directed by Janus Metz and starring Shia LaBeouf and Sverrir Gudnason, opened Toronto and was nominated for ten Guldbagge Awards in Sweden. Wilde is next directing, starring in and producing Don’t Worry, Darling for New Line.
Wilde is repped by CAA, Untitled Entertainment and attorneys at Ziffren Brittenham. Sandahl is repped by Camille McCurry at United Agents and CAA.
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