LOS ANGELES, Calif., (Sept. 23, 2015) – Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, who took faith-themed entertainment to new global heights with their record-setting miniseries THE BIBLE and their feature film SON OF GOD, have set their sights on WOODLAWN, Football movie set in the segregated south in the 70’s that is as real and relevant today as it was 40 years ago. WOODLAWN premieres in theaters nationwide on October 16th.
Downey and Burnett serve as executive producers under their LightWorkers Media banner. Their previous big-screen credits include SON OF GOD, LITTLE BOY and the much-anticipated epic BEN-HUR due in theaters from Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures next spring.
WOODLAWN, an Erwin Brothers film produced by Kevin Downes, is an exhilarating high school football story about revival and reconciliation that offers hope for overcoming the racial crises facing America today. That is what drew the husband-and-wife team to the project.
“The goal of all of our faith-based projects has been to spotlight the power and goodness of God,” Downey explained. “WOODLAWN fits that bill perfectly: It’s an exciting and emotional look at how faith changes the fortunes and hearts of a football team, a high school and an entire city. This story is an important reminder of what faith in action looks like. WOODLAWN is filled with truly memorable performances and at the heart of the film young Caleb Castille is an amazing new discovery in the lead role”
“Jon and Andy Erwin have made a special film, one that will make you stand and cheer and bring you to your knees in tears.” added Burnett “It’s amazing to see Sean Astin in his first football movie since RUDY.”
WOODLAWN tells the true-life story of Tony Nathan (newcomer Caleb Castille), who lands in a powder keg of anger and violence when he joins fellow African-American students at Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Ala., after its government-mandated desegregation in 1973. The Woodlawn Colonels football team is a microcosm of the problems at the school and in the city, which erupts in cross burnings and riots, and Coach Tandy Geralds (Nic Bishop) is at a loss to solve these unprecedented challenges with his disciplinarian ways.
It’s only when Hank (Sean Astin), an outsider who has been radically affected by the message of hope and love he experienced at a Christian revival meeting, convinces Coach Geralds to let him speak to the team that something truly remarkable begins to happen. More than 40 players, nearly the entire team, black and white, give their lives over to the “better way” Hank tells them is possible through following Jesus, and the change is so profound in them it affects their coach, their school and their community in ways no one could have imagined.
The Colonels make a run at the state playoffs led by Nathan, who achieves superstar status in Birmingham and attracts the attention of legendary University of Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant (Jon Voight). It’s the miracle, Hank says, of what happens when God shows up.
“We’re honored Roma and Mark are Exec. Producing with us to bring this important story to the big screen at such an important time in history,” director Jon Erwin said. “They are known internationally for sharing God’s unwavering love for us all through quality entertainment. That’s why Andy and I made WOODLAWN – to share that message. It’s why we got into filmmaking in the first place.”
WOODLAWN, distributed by Pure Flix in conjunction with Provident Films, stars Sean Astin (RUDY, THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY, MOM’S NIGHT OUT), Nic Bishop (COVERT AFFAIRS, BODY OF PROOF), Caleb Castille (in his feature film debut), C. Thomas Howell (THE OUTSIDERS, RED DAWN), Sherri Shepherd (THE VIEW, PRECIOUS) and Academy-Award winner JON VOIGHT (COMING HOME, ALI, NATIONAL TREASURE). It is directed by The Erwin Brothers (OCTOBER BABY, MOM’S NIGHT OUT) from a script by Jon Erwin and Quinton Peeples and is produced by Kevin Downes (FAITH OF OUR FATHERS, COURAGEOUS).
To learn more about the movie, visit www.woodlawnmovie.com/pressroom