• Thomas Bonifield

"American Underdog" Director Sees God "Opening Doors" for Christian Movies

This film tells the incredible story of Hall-of-Fame quarterback Kurt Warner and will get a coveted Christmas Day release.

Zachary Levi (left) poses for a picture with Kurt Warner during production of "American Underdog."
Lead actor Zachary Levi (left) poses for a picture with Kurt Warner during production of "American Underdog." Image: Kingdom Story Company/Lionsgate.

The next movie from the brother duo of Andrew and Jon Erwin is a real-life Cinderella-type story. American Underdog, co-directed by the pair, dramatizes Kurt Warner's journey from stocking grocery store shelves to leading the then St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl title. The film stars Zachary Levi as Warner, Anna Paquin as his wife, Brenda, and Dennis Quaid in the role of Dick Vermeil, who was the team's head coach.


The movie poster for "American Underdog."
The movie poster for "American Underdog." Image: Kingdom Story Company/Lionsgate.

Among the top filmmakers in the faith-based genre, the Erwin Brothers signed a partnership agreement with Hollywood studio Lionsgate in early 2019 and also opened their own production outfit, Kingdom Story Company. That deal is paving the way for a host of relatively big-budget Christian pictures like I Still Believe (2020) and now American Underdog, not to mention their recent documentary, The Jesus Music, which enjoyed a successful theatrical run last month.


In an interview with The Christian Post, Andrew Erwin says he's "so excited about how (American Underdog) turned out." Lionsgate clearly shares the sentiment, because the studio agreed to release it on Christmas Day, which, according to Erwin, "has never happened for anything involving faith." The brothers are committed Believers and Andrew praises the Lord for His blessing of their careers.

"God is opening doors in film that I never thought was possible, that Jon and I and Kevin (Downes) - our producing partner - have only dreamed of."

The Erwins have another feature film coming out next year in March that is entitled Unbreakable Boy. They are producing that one and Zachary Levi again plays the lead, this time opposite Christian actress Patricia Heaton. The picture tells an uplifting true story of a child with a rare brittle-bone condition and autism who inspires everyone around him. In a word, they are truly on a roll.


As for American Underdog, it will be interesting to see how well it does with that Christmas release. That's a big day to debut for secular movies, but we're not so sure it will draw faith-based moviegoers to the same degree in light of everything else the day holds for Believers.