New Line Cinema has released three photos from their upcoming comedy Fist Fight, which hits theaters on February 17, 2017. These images give us our first look at stars Ice Cube and Charlie Day, who play a pair of starkly different teachers who end up in an intense showdown on the last day of school. We also get much more insight on the story from director Richie Keen.
USA Today debuted these new photos, which also feature co-stars Jillian Bell and Tracy Morgan, in his first major movie role since the harrowing 2014 car crash that almost killed him. The site also spoke with Richie Keen, who previously worked with Charlie Day by directing 11 episodes of his hit FX series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and makes his feature directorial debut on this comedy. The director revealed that this story "felt like a rated-R John Hughes movie to me."
The story centers on English teacher Andy Campbell (Charlie Day) and history teacher Ron Strickland (Ice Cube), who get embroiled in an intense confrontation after Campbell inadvertently gets Strickland fired on the last day of school. This leads to Ron challenging Andy to a fist fight in the parking lot after school. Richie Keen reveals that while Strickland doesn't want to be friends with his students, Campbell is the exact opposite, but, as the director puts it, neither of their approaches are working.
"The truth of the matter is at this public high school on a very chaotic day, neither of their philosophies are working. And this fight becomes a bigger metaphor for the system and things needing to change."
Charlie Day teased that his character Andy Campbell is quite different than his Charlie character on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Instead of playing the "wild card" Charlie, the actor describes his Andy character as "a straight man in a sea of crazy people." Andy keeps trying to "weasel out of the fight, but because of the pressure cooker of time, that uphill battle gets intensified."
The supporting cast also includes Dean Norris as the principal, who becomes the target of senior pranks, Jillian Bell as an inappropriate guidance counselor who uses drugs and "has the hots" for a student, Kumail Nanjiani, a security guard whose stringent adherence to the rules prohibits him from helping Andy, and Christina Hendricks as a mild-mannered French teacher with a saucy side. Tracy Morgan portrays a "grumpy gym teacher" who has no idea that the few kids he thinks are good, have been "slowly defacing the football field" throughout the entire movie. Richie Keen also added that Charlie Day was a "trooper" for being thrown into a school bus for multiple takes by Ice Cube. Here's what Charlie Day had to say about their climactic fight.
"What's surprising is how hard he can actually punch. If you're making Rocky or Creed and there's a big fight scene at the end, you also have a big training sequence. Let me tell you, when you're trying to do that type of fighting and you're not in the best shape of your life, it's extra-hard."
Richie Keen directs Fist Fight from a script by Van Robicheaux and Evan Susser, who both make their feature writing debuts after writing a number of short films. This comedy will be facing some stiff competition when it hits theaters on February 17, going up against The Dark Tower, The Great Wall and A Cure For Wellness. Take a look at the first photos from Fist Fight below.