Dynamo vs Victory: A Cinematic Soccer Shoot-Out in the Works?

Gerard Butler, Soccer Aid, UNICEF, movie, photo, Dynamo, Victory

Soccer Aid 2012 for UNICEF where England vs The Rest of the World

My apologies for calling it soccer, but not for nothin’, if Dynamo is still a go (hey, that rhymed!), then they’d probably better get on it.
Way back in October of 2012, it was announced that Gerard Butler was set to star in Dynamo, based on the true story of a football (soccer) game that took place between an occupied Ukrainian soccer team and their Nazi captors during World War II. Butler would play Nikolai Trusevich, the all-star goalie who served as a cornerstone and leader for his team, and ultimately inspired the entire battered city of Kiev, Ukraine.

To stem a rising tide of resistance and establish Aryan superiority, the Nazi’s set up a match pitting the starving Ukrainians against a ‘super team’ of German players that to this day is still known as “The Death Match”.

Dynamo is based on the novel “Dynamo: Defending The Honour Of Kiev” by Andy Dougan, with a screenplay by Eli Richbourg. A director had never been announced  (given Richbourg’s long association as asst. director to Joel Schumacher, I have to wonder if the latter isn’t or wasn’t in the mix), but Riviera Pictures, Beau Flynn of FlynnPictureCo., and Jeremy Garelick were already in place to produce, along with Pathé, which would distribute the film worldwide. That was a lot of the requisite puzzle pieces in place…and then nothing. It was supposed to shoot in Europe in 2013. Obviously, that did not happen.  In December 2012 and early January 2013, during promotion for Playing for Keeps, Butler was still talking about Dynamo, although he did make it sound like it would film in the distant future. After all, he’d just made his second film as a soccer player (after 2005’s Miracle Match aka The Game of Their Lives).

So, what’s the story? Has the future come and gone as well? I have no answers.
Some months ago there was talk that director Doug Liman was interested in remaking John Huston’s 1981 film, Victory, which starred Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine and Pelé. It is also based on Trusevich’s story, although is not a faithful adaptation. Now, thanks to the Hollywood Reporter, we have confirmation that Gavin O’Connor, writer/director of Warrior, is writing the script. Producers attached are Bernie Goldmann and Gianni Nunnari as well as Warner Brothers exec.’s Jon Berg and Racheline Benveniste.

Liman’s back on the action-adventure A-list after Edge of Tomorrow (okay, few – in the US – have seen it, but the reviews have been stellar) so this could get fast tracked, especially if the suddenly omnipresent Tom Hardy is truly attached to star.

It could be down to World Cup Mania, but this is not the first time, by any stretch, that there have been two, or more, films in development that revolve around the same subject matter. Of course, sports of all varieties are good film fodder, especially when you tack on a good human-interest angle.
Just on paper, there are a lot of things to recommend either one of these projects, but all things being equal, the first one off the starting block will probably fare better than any others. This is something to which Gerard Butler can certainly attest, given the fact that Olympus Has Fallen is getting a sequel, while White House Down will become a minor blip on Channing Tatum’s resume.
I have not heard that Dynamo is a no-go, so does that mean it’s still in the works? Having already seen Victory, which I enjoyed, I’d like to see a version of the real story. As of this moment, it’s still a “50/50 ball”*, but it won’t be for long. A red card could be looming.

Your thoughts? Which film piques your interest: Dynamo? Victory? None of the above?


*50/50 ball – Just what it sounds like. A loose ball as near to one team as it is to the opposing team, allowing both an equal chance of controlling it.


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