ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with fantasy football starring Omari Hardwick and Rome Flynn about the film and working with Tony Gonzalez. The film will be available exclusively through Paramount+ on November 25.
“In this hilarious and heartwarming father-daughter sports fantasy, everything changes when Callie A. Coleman (Marsai Martin) discovers that she can magically control her father Bobby’s (Omari Hardwick) performance on the soccer field,” reads the synopsis for the movie. “When Callie plays her dad, a running back for the Atlanta Falcons, on EA Sports” Madden NFL 23, Bobby transforms from a fumblitis-ridden journeyman to a star running back destined for stardom alongside his daughter and wife Keisha (Kelly Rowland). With the NFL Playoffs approaching and the pressures of Callie’s new commitment to her friends on the robotics team mounting, the two must press on to keep the magic under wraps while juggling the ups and downs of their new found success, all while rediscovering meaning. it really means being a family.”
Tyler Treese: Omari, I know you were DB in Georgia. You tried out for the Chargers. Athletics and your love of the arts have always been intertwined, so how cool was it to implement your soccer background in this film?
Omari Hardwick: It was as cool as that question, bro. It’s weird to be able to talk about all the things that, or I guess the prominent things that are in that bag that God has given you, and have those conversations on podcasts, like the pivot with Fred Taylor, Channing Crowder and Ryan Clark. We’re talking to Deion Sanders. You’re talking to these athletes, which is really cool, and they’re more interested in what you feel about the other stuff that’s in the athletic bag sort of thing. So I think, for me, it was a great moment where I was like, “wow.” Truly, if you continue to walk in a marathon fashion, and I’m imparting that, I know I’m with Rome, and I’ve got other people coming after me who I think have a fair share of tricks in that bag.
It is the moment when you realize that it is a marathon race. This movie was the first time I was able to look in the mirror and say, “Oh yeah, my career has been a marathon.” Because here I am, finally getting to a place where, like you said, I could incorporate all of that good stuff into one movie. my love for art [and] my love for athletics is now combined and being an actor I can show both at the same time which is pretty amazing. Particularly to do it with not only a very talented actor, which is Roma, but also a very talented actor who also comes from the world of sports. I probably would have felt comfortable if he couldn’t run across the football field, but he’s super athletic, fast, he can catch. As a ballplayer coming from football and me from the sport that he really got into, which is basketball, it’s interesting for us to be able to look at each other and say, “okay, we know we can perform. We can do this too.” And that was a lot for me. I immediately felt comfortable knowing that I had a cohort that I could pull out of the same size bag. But a great question, man.
Rome, it had to be great to work with Tony Gonzalez. That’s the best tight end of all time. Play your coach in the movie. How was it working with him?
Rome Flynn: It’s natural. Such a presence, you know? Here’s the thing. You would have to live under a rock not to know who it is. But the important thing is… I feel like what’s a good sign of a person who has great integrity but also has a great career and a great resume like his, is that you wouldn’t know unless you knew. Sometimes you go to these people and they talk about these things. Like with Tony, if you didn’t know he played football, you just didn’t know, you would have thought he was an actor. He was super present, and he just knocked it out of the park, man. I’m happy they had a guy like him because they could have had a coach who’s also in the NFL but isn’t a good actor. His part isn’t very big, but it’s really important because he relates to everything. [It] ties throughout the team, ties in the scene between me and Omari when we walk into his office. To handle that kind of scene with two actors like Omari and me… I think he did an amazing job. So I hope you keep doing it, I hope you keep going and keep pushing yourself to do more of this kind of thing.