Scheduled to hit theaters Dec. 18, "American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story" will be based on parts of Warner's memoir, All Things Possible: My Story of Faith, Football and the First Miracle Season, as well as separate interviews with the Rams legend.
The possibility of his journey being made into a movie never crossed Warner's mind during it, but as he reflects on it many years later, he understands why and hopes it continues to inspire and impact people.
"We look at it now, how grateful we are for the journey. A long, big part of it, we weren't really feeling grateful for the journey, we were wondering, 'Why me? Why do I have to take this route to get to where I want to go?'" Warner told theRams.com in a phone interview Thursday morning. "But looking back now, it's a once in a lifetime-type journey, and I think that's one the reasons that A) you get a movie made about you, but B) it's had such an impact on so many people, because it crosses the lines of the football field and resonates with a lot of people, that life isn't always easy and life's not always perfect. And sometimes you got to do what you got to do while you're waiting to do what you were born to do.
"So those things happen in life, and so many people I believe can associate with our story because it is different, because it is unique from other athletes, but similar to what most people go through. Just grateful for the journey, grateful that we find ourselves here, and grateful that we get another opportunity to use the platform and the story to hopefully inspire and impact people."
While Warner's football career is an important part to the story, it is really the story of both he and his wife Brenda, given they've been by each other's side throughout the journey as well as the prominent role she's had.
Before becoming a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion and Hall-of-Famer, Warner's journey to the Rams included:
- Signing with the Green Bay Packers as a free agent after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa in 1994, then getting cut during training camp.
- Returning to Northern Iowa after getting cut to work as an assistant coach while also working shifts at a local Hy-Vee grocery store to support Brenda – at the time his girlfriend – and her two kids.
- Playing three seasons in the Arena Football League with the Iowa Barnstormers.
- Playing one season with NFL Europe's Amsterdam Admirals.
Off the field, Brenda's parents were tragically killed in a tornado in Arkansas in 1996. When Kurt left to play overseas in NFL Europe, Brenda, while pregnant with their third-oldest child Kade, received results of a Pap smear which came back positive, potentially jeopardizing her ability to deliver a healthy baby. Fortunately, she delivered a healthy Kade, and a biopsy doctors conducted on a piece of her cervix shortly thereafter revealed no cancer.
Zachary Levi has been cast to play Kurt, but whoever gets cast to play Brenda will also have a prominent role in the film.
"Her life journey was way more difficult than anything that I dealt with," Warner said. "Strength, the ability to endure and overcome I think is a big trait. The ability to show that strength but also be very compassionate and very loving. That's kind of a unique contrast, because a lot of times when we think of people being strong, we don't see them as being as compassionate, but Brenda has both qualities. So I'm excited. I think it can be a powerful role. It's going to take a unique individual to play it and pull it off."
Though the Warners initially weren't grateful in the early stages of their journey, what got them through it and continues to give them perspective today is their Christian faith.
Kurt said they feel it is their calling to display Jesus in whatever way they have to, and "to be able to connect with people where they're at, not just where you're at." Additionally, It was important to them during the process to work with people who understand that faith as an underlying theme in a movie can be portrayed in different ways, and that the film didn't have to look like whatever someone automatically thinks of when they initially hear faith-based movie.
According to https://variety.com/2020/film/news/kurt-warner-movie-lionsgate-1203492457/" target="_blank" >Varietyhttps://variety.com/2020/film/news/kurt-warner-movie-lionsgate-1203492457/" target="_blank" >'s Dave McNary, Kurt and Brenda are co-producing the movie alongside directors Jon and Andrew Erwin. Developed by Lionsgate, the film is being produced by the Erwin Brothers through their Kingdom Story Company with partner Kevin Downes. It is being written by David Aaron Cohen ("Friday Night Lights"), Jon Gunn and Jon Erwin. The Erwin brothers previously collaborated with Lionsgate on faith-based films like the 2018 drama "I Can Only Imagine" and the March 2020 biopic on Christian musician Jeremy Camp.
"I think that for us becomes the challenge and the exciting part of this movie, is we've got people involved that understand that," Kurt said. "We want to make a movie that reaches as many people as possible, with the true essence of what the story is and who we are. That to me is why we're excited about our team and what they know and what they understand about the story, and who they are as people. I believe we have a chance to do something extremely unique and special because of those perspectives, and bring the right story to the big screen, whatever that looks like."
Warner played at the highest level of professional football and won one Super Bowl, during that miracle 1999 season, while appearing in two more. However, he said winning a Super Bowl – among other qualifiers that the world uses to deem a person as successful – is not the only definition of a successful life.
He hopes the movie not only teaches that, but also inspires viewers and fans to find a great confidence and be very content in whatever their dreams are, regardless of what the world says.
"The bottom line is, we want people to believe that with faith in yourself, with faith in something greater, that all things really are possible," Kurt said. "That even though circumstances might say something different or people, outside forces may say something different, those things do not have to define us, and define who we are and what we can be."