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Double Team: Jason Sudeikis Gets Coached in Ryan Koo’s “Amateur”

Jason Sudeikis is likely going to use his whistle-blowing skills from the set of Race, as The Tracking Board reports that the actor will board Ryan Koo‘s directorial debut as the antagonistic court-side nemesis who goes toe to toe with Michael Rainey Jr. Announced as part of a Netflix deal this past January, the Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab workshopped project is expected to shoot sometime this spring. The Birth of a Nation‘s Jason Michael Berman and Chip Hourihan are producing Amateur for Mandalay Pictures.

Gist: Based on the short film of the same name, this follows Terron Forte (Rainey Jr.), a 14 year-old basketball phenom, whose highlight video goes viral only to find himself struggling to fit in with the older high schoolers on his new team. He then must defeat his greatest rival yet — his new coach (Sudeikis).

Worth Noting: Formerly going by the title of “Manchild,” the project successfully landed a good chunk of change via Kickstarter campaign and was selected as part of the 2014 January Screenwriters Lab. Here is Koo’s account of the process. Other note: he runs the excellent indie film trade blog, No Film School.

Do We Care?: A Netflix project that could potentially find a limited theatrical release, this is something to look out for as early as next January (it’s never too early for Sundance 2017 prediction) and we’re looking forward to something that takes a less formulaic approach to what is a classically told tale. Here’s a sampling.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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