Freedom Films named Kurt Russell as the head high-school football coach in writer/director Don Handfield’s Touchback, which stars Brian Presley (Home of the Brave), Melanie Lynskey as his wife, and Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Christine Lahti as his mother. Marc Blucas, Drew Powell, Sarah Wright, Sianoa Smit-McPhee and Kevin Covais also star. Filming begins this week in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.
Handfield commented on having Russell come aboard in the role of “Coach Hand.” “I am thrilled he responded to the material. He is an icon and brings a unique warmth, charm and strength to the character. I feel blessed to be working with such a legendary actor on my first film,” he said.
“Don is a creative force, passionate, smart, and Freedom couldn’t be more pleased to embark on the journey of making this film with him,” stated Presley who is also producing with Lisa Kearns of Freedom Films, Kevin Matusow, Carissa Buffel-Matusow, and George Furla.
Also joining the film is renowned football coordinator Mark Ellis of Sports Studio. Ellis has worked on many major sports action films of the past two decades including We Are Marshall, Invincible, The Rookie, The Longest Yard and Miracle, which re-teams Ellis with Russell. Touchback also reunites Russell and Lahti for the first time since Swing Shift.
In Touchback, “Murphy,” played by Brian Presley, is a down-on-his-luck small town farmer and volunteer fireman whose glorious high school football days were cut short when he was critically injured during a playoff game. He often wonders “what if” and then is unexpectedly thrust from the present day back to that fateful instant that changed his life forever. But this time around “Murphy” has the choice to decide if he wants the life he has or the life that could have been.
Touchback is the first movie to go into production under a three-picture deal between Freedom Films and financier Palo Verde, a hedge fund founded in 2008 by Paul Ross & Tony Stacy.