Kurt Warner is legitimately living a fairy tale. Going from undrafted free agent Quarterback to grocery store employee to Super Bowl MVP is literally what Hollywood traffics in. Commentators during his career even spoke of how he’s essentially inside of a Disney movie. So, it was no surprise that a film about his life and career would be made. At the same time, it has got to be weird for the guy living it all to then see a fake version of on the screen. American Underdog does a good job with his story, but beyond that, what does Warner think of it all? Luckily (and surreally), I was able to hop on the phone with him a few weeks ago to talk about the flick. It was ridiculously cool to chat with him, so I’m delighted to share it with you all today.
Below, you can hear my conversation with Warner. The focus of our discussion is on the experience of having your life story turned into a movie. He’s a very nice man, but also refreshingly frank about the process. I’ve actually always wanted to have this sort of a chat with someone who had a biopic made about them, so to have it be a superstar football legend is just an added bonus. What was it like seeing Zachary Levi and Anna Paquin play you and your wife, for example? The film is well worth seeing, whether you’re into sports or not, but Warner does an excellent job selling the emotional aspect of it all. Anyone who followed his career should definitely check out both American Underdog and this interview.
This is some of what I had to say earlier in the week within my American Underdog review:
Football fans know the tale of Kurt Warner quite well. An afterthought coming out of college, Warner bounced around training camp before stocking shelves in a supermarket to make ends meet, until making a name for himself in the Arena League. From there, he was discovered by the NFL, with the rest being history. The greatest undrafted player in league history, his success was ready made for Hollywood. So, it’s not surprising that American Underdog has come along to try and do it justice. What’s interesting is that the film is not quite a Disney tale, and as interested in Warner the person (and his relationships) as it is in Warner the athlete. That focus helps to at least slightly set it apart from the pack.
American Underdog takes Warner’s story and make this a hybrid between a romantic drama/dramedy and a sports movie. Football is certainly represented, but it’s not the sole focus. Nothing here re-invests the cinematic wheel, to be sure, but it’s all done with such an affectionate touch that it’s hard not to fall for it. Cynics need not apply here, but if you’re open to the flick, it’s going to reward you.
Here now is my interview with Kurt Warner, talking American Underdog. Enjoy:
American Underdog is in theaters Christmas Day!