Sam Claflin is set to star in the upcoming 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.
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 Stone and 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 38. 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.”
“This will not just be a film about cheering a goal,” says Stone, “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 ’70s, everybody wanted to be him. But quite frankly, no one else had the balls.”
“Robin Friday’s legacy continues to live on today,” adds Barros, “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.”
Fortitude International, co-founded by Nadine de Barros, 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, will represent the film’s North American rights.