'Varsity Blues' Update Ordered to Series at Quibi (Exclusive)

'Varsity Blues' (1999)
Courtesy of Everett Collection

Teen icon status came shortly after Pleasantville with Varsity Blues. The football drama introduced Walker to audiences as golden boy Lance Harbor, a star quarterback who falls from grace when he blows out his knee. The indie pic was a surprise hit, grossing $54 million.

The West Canaan Coyotes live again: Quibi has given a series order to an update of the 1999 high school football movie Varsity Blues.

The series comes from writer Tripper Clancy (Stuber) and Paramount Television (Paramount Pictures produced the film). Like the movie, the Quibi show will follow members of a high school football team and their battles with a demanding coach.

Two of the movie's producers, Mike Tollin and Tova Laiter, will executive produce the series along with John Gatins and Peter Guber. Tollin and Guber's MSM produces with Paramount TV. Anne Fletcher (The Proposal, This Is Us) directs, and Maia Glikman will oversee the project for MSM.

Quibi put the project in development in July as it was ramping up its acquisitions ahead of a planned April 2020 launch. At the time Tollin said, "For all those who cheered Mox's refrain, 'I don't want your life,' as well as all those who never heard of the West Canaan Coyotes, we're thrilled to bring Varsity Blues to Quibi and into the 21st century."

The 1999 movie starred James Van Der Beek as Jonathon "Mox" Moxon, the backup quarterback for West Canaan who's elevated to QB1 following an injury to the team's starter, Lance Harbor (Paul Walker). Mox clashes with the team's authoritarian coach (Jon Voight), who forces players to play through potentially serious injuries.

The film's cast also included Amy Smart, Ali Larter, Scott Caan, Ron Lester, Eliel Swinton and Thomas F. Duffy, who played Mox's father and was the subject of Van Der Beek's famous "I don't want your life!" line (watch it below).

The Quibi series marks the second try at an adaptation of Varsity Blues. CMT was developing a show with the film's writer, W. Peter Iliff, in 2016, but it didn't move forward, as the network pulled back from scripted series.

Varsity Blues is one of more than 30 scripted projects in the works at Quibi, the mobile-centric streaming platform that will launch in April. The service, which will charge $5 per month for an ad-supported version and $8 monthly for viewing without ads, also is developing 20-plus unscripted shows and will have daily news and sports programming from the likes of NBC, ESPN and the BBC.