Family, Faith and Football
Newsweek|January 21, 2022
A new movie tells the story of NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner’s against-the odds rise to stardom
JAMIE BURTON
KURT WARNER NEEDED BELIEF to become the proud owner of a Super Bowl ring, two Super Bowl MVP awards and one of the NFL's most unlikely success stories. At times, belief in himself and the belief of those around him was all he had as he worked in a grocery store, waiting for his NFL dream to come true.

The events that led to his meteoric rise JAMIE E in the NFL, via a $5.50 per hour job and the Arena Football League (AFL), are played out in the new movie American Underdog, which arrived in theaters on Christmas Day.

Shazam! star Zachary Levi has the honor of playing the Hall of Famer but his co-star Anna Paquin has an equally as important role.

American Underdog is more family drama than sports biopic, with BURTON Paquin playing Kurt's e_Burton wife Brenda Warner, whom Kurt credits with helping him achieve his sports ambitions.

Kurt, alongside Brenda, admitted to Newsweek that ahead of production he was worried about “Hollywood taking creative license” and “changing the story but he needn't have worried. We don't think that the events needed to be dramatized to make it a great story, he says. “I feel like they did complete justice to the story.

When it came to casting the younger versions of themselves, they were both thrilled with the choices-eventually.

After finding out who'd be playing him, Kurt invited his doppelganger, Levi, to his house in order to vet him, but luckily it turned out they shared a lot of the same beliefs. “He [Levi] came out to spend a few days with us and it was very evident early on that we had a lot of the same values and that he believed in a lot of the same things. He's just a good quality person that loves people and has great charisma.

Levi wasn't the only one under inspection ahead of the movie, as Brenda had to make sure Oscar-winner Anna Paquin was up to the task of playing her. “I saw a strong woman, I saw a sassy woman,” Brenda says of her FaceTime meetings with Paquin.

“I saw a woman that's honest and bold and will fight, just by the way that she would pose questions and ask me why I believe what I believe. And then throw in an Oscar, not too shabby. She's amazing.”

Make no mistake, we were constantly vetting them,” Kurt chimes in, “We were constantly looking on set like, ‘Are they gonna be able to pull this off?' But they got it.”

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