There was a huge bidding war in Hollywood earlier this year for the rights to Warren St. John's New York Times article about the Fugees, a youth soccer club in Georgia comprised of international refugees. Universal ended up acquiring the rights, and now the studio is about to hire a screenwriter: Andrea Berloff, best known for penning Oliver Stone's World Trade Center. The screenwriter is also attached to the upcoming Don't Look Now remake for Paramount; considering St. John is currently working on a whole book about the Fugees, Berloff will likely end up finishing the remake before tackling the soccer movie so that she has more to work from.

The script will primarily focus on Jordan-born Luma Mufleh, the soccer club's founder and coach. She gathered the children of Clarkston, Georgia, who mostly come from war-torn countries like Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Congo, Kosovo, Burundi, Liberia, Cambia and Somalia, and she has been met with a number of adversities since doing so. Last summer the mayor of Clarkston, which is estimated to be half-populated with immigrants, banned soccer in the town park. She was able to get him to agree to a trial period for the club's use of the land. In October, she was arrested for a suspended license on the way to an away game, with her team having to go on and play without her guidance. Eventually the Fugees played a championship game against an elite and wealthy Atlanta club.

All the events written about by St. John are perfect for yet another inspirational sports movie, especially one dealing with current world events. But because of the huge amount paid by Universal -- the highest ever for a Times article, mostly because a lot of the money is going to the club -- the producers (Scott Stuber, Mary Parent, Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy) will really have to work hard in order to make this appear distinct and fresh. I'm anxious to see who the studio hires to play Mufleh, since it should probably be someone with a decent box office draw. Unfortunately, I can't think of any young stars who even slightly resemble her (see a photo here, and see if you can think of one).
CATEGORIES Cinematical