Jonathan Levine (Nine Perfect Strangers) has signed on to direct Mr. Irrelevant, a movie about John Tuggle, a running back who the New York Giants selected as the last pick in the 1983 NFL Draft.
Skydance Sports is producing the movie, which will be written by FUBAR creator Nick Santora. Levine will also produce Mr. Irrelvant under his Megamix banner alongside former Lionsgate exec Gillian Bohrer, plus Santora.
“Mr. Irrelevant” is the moniker that has been bestowed on the final pick of the NFL Draft since 1976. Current San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy was the “Mr. Irrelevant” of his draft — though he seems pretty relevant now given how he and his undefeated team have been playing.
Tuggle also had quite the impact on his own team — and teammates — over the course of his inspirational career. The film will tell a heartfelt true story of endurance and perseverance, and the project sounds interesting to me because I believe that Skydance Sports is filling an important void in the marketplace.
There’s an entire generation of adults who grew up on inspirational Disney sports movies, whether it be Cool Runnings, The Big Green, or The Mighty Ducks, and a story about someone like Tuggle, who overcame being overlooked, sounds like it could appeal to that audience, which Skydance is well aware of, having just produced Ben Affleck‘s Nike movie Air for Amazon Studios.
Levine broke out with his 2006 horror-thriller All the Boys Love Mandy Lane starring Amber Heard before earning strong reviews for the indie comedy The Wackness, the Seth Rogen–Joseph Gordon-Levitt dramedy 50/50, and the zombie movie Warm Bodies. He went on to work with Rogen again on The Night Before and Long Shot, both of which are underrated. More recently, Levine directed all eight episodes of Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers.
Santora has been on quite a run lately, having served as showrunner on Amazon’s Reacher as well as the Quibi shows The Fugitive and The Most Dangerous Game. He has a pre-existing relationship with Skydance, having created its Netflix series FUBAR starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Levine and Bohrer are developing several projects at Megamix, which recently renewed its first-look film and TV deal with Lionsgate. The company’s slate includes the studio’s sequel to Dirty Dancing, which is slated to bring back original star Jennifer Grey.
Levine and Bohrer are represented by CAA, while Santora is repped by WME and Gotham Group. Deadline broke the news.