Taika Waititi Soccer Drama 'Next Goal Wins' Rounds Out Cast

Taika Waititi -Getty-H 2019
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Kaimana will portray Jaiyah Saelua, the first nonbinary player to compete in a men's FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Taika Waititi's soccer movie Next Goal Wins has rounded out its cast as it heads into production in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Based on a 2014 British documentary of the same name from Mike Brett and Steve Jamison, Next Goal Wins is an underdog story that follows the national football team of American Samoa and their coach, Thomas Rongen, as they try to transform from perennial losers into a FIFA World Cup-qualifying outfit.

As previously reported, Elisabeth Moss and Michael Fassbender, who will play the team's coach, will star. Joining them will be Oscar Kightley, David Fane, Beulah Koale, Lehi Falepapalangi, Semu Filipo, Uli Latukefu and Rachel House.

Kaimana, in an acting debut, will portray Jaiyah Saelua, the first nonbinary player to compete in a men's FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Waititi is reteaming with Jojo Rabbit studio Fox Searchlight on the project, which he will be directing before embarking on Marvel's fourth Thor film, Love & Thunder.  The Kiwi filmmaker co-wrote the screenplay for Next Goal Wins with Iain Morris. 

Waititi is producing alongside Jonathan Cavendish and Garrett Basch, with Andy Serkis, Will Tennant, and Kathryn Dean serving as executive producers. Additional producers include Brett and Jamison. David Greenbaum, Matthew Greenfield and Taylor Friedman will oversee for the studio.

Waititi stated, "I've just started production on my next film, Next Goal Wins. We have such an amazing cast and crew behind this film, and I'm stoked to be partnering once again with the lovely people at Fox Searchlight Pictures." 

"Taika is an incredible talent and master at bringing honesty and humanity to the surface in any story.  We are thrilled to be working with him again on such an extraordinary true story of perseverance in the face of defeat. He has brought together a terrific group of actors, craftspeople and sports players to bring this unique story to life," said Greenfield and Greenbaum.