Dermot Mulroney has signed on to direct a biopic based on Liberian soccer star-turned-politician George Weah.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film centers on Weah, the international soccer star who became a humanitarian and politician in his native country, eventually running for president.
The producers spent the better part of a year courting Weah, whose full name is George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah, to hand over life rights.
Weah rose from the slums of Liberia's capital, Monrovia, to become the only person to win FIFA World Player of the Year, European Footballer of the Year and African Footballer of the Year in one season (1995). He used his popularity as a sports figure to help child soldiers lay down their weapons, and his influence in Liberia, one of Africa's most corrupt and dangerous nations, was a factor in bringing down the bloody dictatorship of Charles Taylor, presently on trial at the Hague for international war crimes.
When Weah made a move to run for president, he became a lightning rod for his opponents; his mansion was burned and members of his family were raped. He lost the election in 2005.
When the laws of the country subsequently were changed so a candidate was required to have a college degree, Weah, who never went to college, has spent the past few years earning one in the U.S. and is gearing for another presidential run.
The next step for project is to find a writer, then raise financing for what Mulroney is envisioning as a globe-spanning biopic with political intrigue and soccer drama.
"Man can't live on romantic comedies alone," Mulroney said. "It was a good starter kit for me as a director. But if I'm actually going to have legs as a director, I need to do the same things as I've done as actor: one of everything."