Coming off the deeply unsuccessful and unpleasant finale of his X-Men run, Michael Fassbender is joining Taika Waititi’s next movie, Next Goal Wins. Based on a documentary of the same name, the movie is about a Dutch coach, Thomas Rongen (presumably to be played by Fassbender), who tries to turn the American Samoa soccer team into winners. Sounds heartwarming. After pulling off a film with a difficulty level as high as Jojo Rabbit’s, I have no doubt Taika Waititi can make a feel-good sports movie about a rag-tag soccer team with an intense and demanding coach. You don’t cast Fassbender to play laid back, chill dudes, so I can only assume Thomas Rongen is an uptight hardass. Prove me wrong, movie.
A curious note is embedded in Variety’s report about Fassbender’s casting, and that is that Marvel wants Waititi to shoot Thor: Love and Thunder “at the top of 2020”. Um, that’s not even six months away, and in between that and this, Waititi is also popping into James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, AND doing Oscar-season rounds for Jojo Rabbit, which just got a huge boost thanks to the TIFF People’s Choice Award. Plus he probably has promotional duties for The Mandalorian this fall, too. TAIKA IS BUSY. I’m amazed he’s doing this soccer movie at all, and if it is true Marvel wants him to start Thor 4 in the new year, I will not be surprised if this project ends up on the back burner. You can’t do all the things at once, it’s impossible. Something will have to give, and it won’t be Marvel (although this does pit two of Disney’s in-house outfits against one another, as Next Goal Wins is being made through Fox Searchlight). Michael Fassbender is always a good bit of casting, but I am starting to doubt this soccer movie is tenable, at least under Taika’s direction. Although, if it does fall apart, then Fassbender is free to make The Snowman 2: Mister Police Returns.