Taika Waititi’s football comedy ‘Next Goal Wins’ to premiere at TIFF

Taika Waititi’s “Next Goal Wins” will have its world premiere at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF organizers announced Wednesday.

Waititi’s Oscar-winning film “Jojo Rabbit” also premiered at TIFF and won the festival’s People’s Choice Award in 2019. His most recent film was “Thor: Love and Thunder” (2022) for Marvel/Disney.

A sports comedy starring Michael Fassbender, “Next Goal Wins” is based on the story of the 2014 American Samoan soccer team, who lost a FIFA match 31-0 and then hired a Dutch-American coach, Thomas Rongen, to help them prepare for World Cup qualifiers. Waititi and Iain Morris wrote a screenplay based on Mike Brett and Steve Jamison’s 2014 documentary of the same name.

Michael Fassbender stars as Rongen, with other cast members including Elisabeth Moss, Will Arnett, Rhys Darby, and Oscar Knightley. After the TIFF premiere, Searchlight Pictures has scheduled the film’s US release for November.

“We are delighted to welcome Taika back to the festival and share his bold interpretation of the world’s most popular sport,” TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey said in a statement. “‘Next Goal Wins’ is perfect for TIFF fans of the beautiful game looking for their soccer fix until the 2024 World Cup rolls around.”

“Next Goal Wins” is the first film announced for the 2023 festival, which will run from September 7 to 17. Additional programming will be announced over the next two months.

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