Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games franchise, Sam Claflin, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) is set to star in the soccer legend biopic Robin Friday, to be directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Henry Alex Rubin (Murderball, Disconnect), it was announced today by producers Mike Young, Julian Stone and Paolo Hewitt of RF Movie Productions Ltd. Financing partners include Global Film Partners' Daniel Koefoed and Guirec van Slingelandt, Telegael's Paul Cummings and 9Magnan's Meghana Gupta.
Fortitude International, co-founded by Nadine DeBarros, Robert Ogden Barnum and Daniel Wagner, will handle foreign rights and will present the project to buyers at the Cannes Film Market. De Barros will be supported by her sales team including Katie Irwin, VP of International and Samantha Peel, Director of International Sales and Marketing. CAA, which packaged and arranged financing for Robin Friday, will represent the film's North American rights.
Based on the biography The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw: The Robin Friday Story, co-written by acclaimed music and sports author Paolo Hewitt, the screenplay was written by Julian Stone and Paolo Hewitt. Scheduled for a fall shoot in the UK, the feature film was developed with funding and support from Film Cymru Wales. Additional casting is underway to bring an authentic soccer presence to Robin Friday's world including casting real life professional soccer players.
Claflin will play the lead role of Robin Friday, the controversial and wild English soccer legend who played for Reading and Cardiff, Wales in the 1970s and died tragically at the young age of thirty eight. Friday's short-lived, but brilliant talent continues to be remembered by his fans, and in 2004 he was voted "all time cult hero" in a BBC poll. He was just as well known for his hedonistic lifestyle off the field and was named #1 in a Channel 4 list of soccer "Bad Boys." Here's what Julian Stone had to say in a statement.
"This will not just be a film about cheering a goal, but about tears and laughs and music and silence and anger and love...because this working-class hero with outrageous talent lived it all. It was a time before the age of privileged athletes, a time when the fans lived next door to their heroes. As Robin Friday walked down the streets of the 70's, everybody wanted to be him. But quite frankly, no one else had the balls."
Nadine DeBarros also issued her own statement.
"Robin Friday's legacy continues to live on today and is a story tailor-made for the big screen given the larger-than-life energy which Friday brought to the sport and his life. The talented Sam Claflin is the perfect actor to fill the shoes of this British legend due to his background in the sport prior to pursuing his acting career."