Americans may be divided on soccer, but plenty enough like it. Yet there are some things upon which we all agree.
Americans love movies. Especially sports movies. More specifically sports movies about plucky, ragtag underdogs who overcome all obstacles to succeed against impossible odds. More specifically that that, ones that are … pause for dramatic effect … Based on a True Story. Rudy. Miracle. Remember the Titans. A League of Their Own. Victory. Invictus. Invincible. American Underdog. 42. 61*. And to people from Philly, Rocky.
And even more than that, if there is one universal truth that unties all our countrymen, we love Matthew McConaughy. So put him in a movie about a team of plucky, ragtag underdogs from America who take on the world in girl's soccer in 1984 and win a championship, and that is a license to print money for any studio. Put all those elements together into one formula and X equals Box Office Gold. A sure-fire, can't miss, inspirational, feel good hit of the summer that's fun for the whole family.
And yet, just weeks before this one was set to begin production, it's getting scrapped under very mysterious, suspicious sounding reasons:
Source - Skydance is no longer moving forward with Dallas Sting, a soccer project starring Matthew McConaughey that was to be directed by The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s Kari Skogland.
The pulling of the plug occurs as the inspirational drama was only six weeks away from beginning production and was almost fully cast.
The feature project, set in 1984, was to tell the true story of a Dallas girls soccer team that traveled to China and, against the odds, defeated some of the best women’s teams in the world. McConaughey was to play coach Bill Kinder, who led the team to victories over Australia, Japan and China and finally Italy in the championship game.
Sources say Skydance and the producers received disturbing allegations surrounding aspects of the true story on which the drama was based. That investigation led Skydance and the producers to pull the plug, according to sources. …
Booksmart breakout Kaitlyn Dever, who recently starred in Dopesick and appears in the upcoming George Clooney-Julia Roberts rom-com Ticket to Paradise, was cast as the coach’s daughter. …
The film, which had a script by GLOW creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, was to be set against the backdrop of President Ronald Reagan opening up relations with China. The move highlights the potential risks that could arise when telling true-life stories.
OK, now it sounds even worse. Because not only do you have one of the most bankable stars of his generation at the top of the bill, there were names attached to this from the Marvel/Disney universe, a well known actress and the writers of the criminally underrated GLOW. To blow this project up at the last minute like this, whatever the "allegations" are, they have to be pretty bloody "disturbing."
I have no clue. The Wikipedia page for the 1984 Dallas Sting team makes no mention of any controversy beyond this story of the movie getting spiked. All we can do is speculate what the hell came to light here, and the possibilities stagger the imagination. I mean, this is international girls' sports we're talking about. So it's impossible not to go right to the sadistic, evil treatment athletes have been subjected to in gymnastics and figure skating and wonder if that's what happened here. And given how slow those stories were to see the light of day, it's not hard to imagine something similar staying buried for almost 40 years.
Beyond that, what else could it be? Performance enhancers? The players getting paid under the table? Dudes passing themselves off as girls, which would've been pretty on-brand for an 80s comedy in a reverse Just One of the Guys scenario? Was the Dallas Sting actually just a front for a Reagan Era CIA operation to destabilize some Socialist regimes overseas? Because that is a movie we all would watch.
For now, speculation is all we have. And given the cruel, perverse way we've seen young athletes, particularly young female athletes be exploited over the years, you can certainly imagine the worst case scenario that would cause a studio to bag this project altogether. And to spare McConaughy the humiliation of being attached to such a thing, if true.
Again, I'm just guessing here. But don't be surprised if we do see a film about the 1984 Dallas Sting team. Only it'll be a very disturbing documentary. Stay tuned.