ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with fantasy football stars 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 she can magically control her father, Bobby’s (Omari Hardwick) performance on the football field,” reads the film’s synopsis. “When Callie plays as her dad, a running back for the Atlanta Falcons, in EA Sports’ Madden NFL 23, Bobby is transformed from a fumblitis-plagued journeyman to a star running back bound for superstardom alongside his daughter and wife Keisha (Kelly Rowland). With the NFL Playoffs looming and the pressures of Callie’s new commitment to her friends on the robotics team mounting, the two must forge ahead to keep the magic a secret as they juggle the highs and lows of their newfound success, all as they rediscover what it really means to be a family.”
Tyler Treese: Omari, I know you were a DB at Georgia. You tried out for the Chargers. Athletics and your love of the arts have always been intertwined, so how cool was it getting to implement your football experience into this movie?
Omari Hardwick: It was as cool as that question, brother. It’s rare to be able to talk about all the things that, or I guess the prominent things that are in that bag that God has gifted you with, and having 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 so wanting to know what you feel about the other things that are in the athletic bag of sorts. So I think, for me, it was a great moment where I went, “wow.” Truly if you continue to walk in a marathon type of way, and I’m kind of imparting that — I know I am with Rome, and I have with other people who are coming up after me who I think have a wealth of tricks in that bag.
It’s the moment where you realize it’s a marathon run. This movie was the first time I could look in the mirror and go, “oh yeah, my career’s been a marathon.” Because here I am, finally getting to a place where, like you said, I could incorporate all of those goodies into one film. My love of art [and] my love of athletics are now combined, and, being an actor, I can show them both off at the same time, which is pretty incredible. Particularly to do it with not only an actor of great talent, that being Rome, but also he’s an actor of great talent who also comes from the world of sport. I probably would’ve felt a way if he couldn’t run up and down the football field, but he’s super athletic, fast, can catch. As a ball player coming from football and me coming from the sport that he really got down in, that being basketball, it’s interesting for us to be able to look at each other and go, “okay, we know we can act. We can also do this.” And so that was a lot for me. I immediately felt comfortable knowing I had a cohort who could pull from the same size of bag. But a great question, dude.
Rome, it had to be so cool working with Tony Gonzalez. That’s the best tight end of all time. He plays your coach in the movie. How was working with him?
Roma Flynn: He’s a natural. Such a presence, you know? Here’s the thing. You’d have to live under a rock to not know who he is. But the important thing is … I feel like what is a good sign of a person that it 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 around these people, and they talk about these things. Like with Tony, if you didn’t know he played football, you just didn’t, you would’ve thought he was an actor. He was super present, and he just knocked it out of the park, man. I’m happy they got a guy like him because they could have got a coach who’s also in the NFL but just not a good actor. His part isn’t super huge, but it’s really important because it ties in everything. [It] ties in the whole team, ties in the scene between me and Omari when we go into his office. To handle that kind of scene with two actors like me and Omari … I just think he did an amazing job. So I hope he keeps doing it, hope he keeps going, and keeps pushing himself to do more of these kind of things.
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