EXCLUSIVE: We have just learned that The Piano Best Oscar winner Anna Paquin has landed the lead in Kingdom Story Company and Lionsgate’s American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story opposite Zachary Levi.
The drama, which Lionsgate is releasing, chronicles the true story of Kurt Warner, who went from stocking shelves at a supermarket to become a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP, and Hall of Fame quarterback. Paquin will play Brenda Warner, Kurt’s wife.
The feature is written by David Aaron Cohen (Friday Night Lights), Jon Gunn (I Still Believe) & Jon Erwin (I Still Believe), and it’s based upon interviews with Warner as well as Warner’s memoir, All Things Possible: My Story of Faith, Football and the First Miracle Season. Kurt Warner and Brenda Warner are co-producing.
American Underdog re-teams Levi with brothers Jon and Andrew Erwin, who are directing the movie. Levi recently starred in the Erwins’ faith-based movie The Unbreakable Boy. They’ll be joined by Kevin Downes to produce through their Kingdom banner. The feature also teams the Kingdom Story Company filmmakers with sports film producer Mark Ciardi (The Rookie, Miracle, Secretariat, Million Dollar Arm, McFarland, USA).
Jim Miller and Chelsea Kujawa are overseeing the film for Lionsgate. Phil Strina oversaw the negotiation on behalf of the studio.
Paquin’s casting comes in the wake of her signing with the Gersh Agency. Previously, the Canadian actress was at William Morris since she was 11-years old, when she took home the Oscar for The Piano, becoming the second youngest to win a Best Supporting Actress at that age after Tatum O’Neal (10 years old, for Paper Moon)
Paquin’s most recent work includes roles in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, Showtime’s The Affair, HBO series True Blood, Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret, and multiple films in the X-Men franchise as the mutant Rogue. This month, she will star in the series Flack for Amazon, which she also executive produces; the streamer will binge drop the show’s first six episodes, which originally aired on POP TV in 2019, and will premiere Season 2 later this year. Paquin is also repped by Brillstein Entertainment and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern.