According to Deadline, Emmy winner Uzu Aduba (Orange is the New Black), Emmy nominee Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood), Alexander Ludwig (Vikings), Tim Blake Nelson (Watchmen), Andrew Bachelor (Greenland), and David Koechner (Anchorman films) have officially been cast to join in STXfilms’ upcoming sports drama film National Champions. They will be joining previously announced leads Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), and Golden Globe nominee Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk), with Ric Roman Waugh directing the project. Production is scheduled to begin in New Orleans later this month.
“Our filmmakers are assembling a truly remarkable cast of engaging and talented actors for this film,” STXfilms Motion Picture Group chair, Adam Fogelson said in a statement. “National Champions is a compelling and timely story that plays on many levels and with this outstanding cast and our talented team of filmmakers, we have every confidence we have a winning team in place on this film.”
Aduba is set to play the role of Katherine, who is the outside counsel to the NCAA, with Olyphant playing a college hipster professor named Elliot. Meanwhile, Ludwig will be playing Emmett, a tight end who joins forces with James’ character as they fight for fair compensation of college athletes just days before the biggest game of the year. As for Nelson, Bachelor, and Koechner, they will be playing the respective roles of Rodger, a wild and funny car dealer who is the head of the team’s booster club; Taylor, one of the college football team’s boosters; and Everly, one of the conference heads.
Based on Adam Mervis’ stage play of the same name, National Champions will explore the big business of college sports when a star quarterback (James) ignites a player’s strike 72 hours before the biggest game of the year to fight for fair compensation, equality, and respect for the athletes who put their bodies and health on the line for their schools.
National Champions will be directed by Ric Roman Waugh from a screenplay adapted by Mervis, who is also set as an executive producer. Producers are game1’s Greg Economou, Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk, and Brendon Boyea. It is being executive producer by Jonathan Fuhrman, Matthew Helderman and Luke Taylor of Bondit Media Capital, Christian Mercuri of The Capstone Group, and Michael Smith.