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Volume 23 No. 24
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Tim Howard feature film will be made (finally) by Amazon

The film will culminate with Tim Howard’s first season as goalkeeper for Manchester United.
Photo: getty images
The film will culminate with Tim Howard’s first season as goalkeeper for Manchester United.
Photo: getty images
The film will culminate with Tim Howard’s first season as goalkeeper for Manchester United.
Photo: getty images

Amazon has acquired the rights to an upcoming feature film about longtime American goalkeeper Tim Howard. The movie will be produced by Mark Ciardi’s Select Films and will cover Howard’s early career, culminating with his first season at Manchester United in 2003-04, as well as his struggles with Tourette syndrome.

The project is some 15 years in the making. Ciardi, who previously produced hit features including “The Rookie,” “Miracle” and “Secretariat,” was first inspired to make the film in 2005 after watching a “60 Minutes” profile of Howard. Dan Segal, Howard’s agent, said the publicity had actually caught the eye of a number of storytellers. “It was sort of a fairy tale story, and we got about half a dozen different movie producers reaching out at that point,” Segal said.

But a few factors conspired to prevent a project from panning out. “I don’t think that would have been a smart thing to do on my end. I had a lot of my career ahead of me,” Howard said. “I didn’t want to be a one-hit wonder, I wanted to work and get my feet under me.”

Ciardi added that it was harder to make such a movie back then because Disney was the only studio interested in sports narratives. It passed on the Howard story. “It’s always tough when you only have one place to sell something,” Ciardi said.

Ciardi got back in touch with Howard’s camp last fall. With Howard winding down his playing career that includes the most caps ever for a U.S. men’s national team keeper — and a bevy of streaming services now contending for original content — the timing was finally right for everyone involved. “It’s a pretty cool story, if I do say so myself,” said Howard, now the sporting director and a minority owner of USL club Memphis 901 FC. “We’re far enough removed from that moment that we can capture it in that best light.”

Multiple platforms, Disney included, were in the mix this time around, but Amazon won out in the end. “They really stepped up,” Ciardi said.

Select has secured Alexis C. Jolly to write the script, and filming is expected to begin early next year. Ciardi said Manchester United has been receptive to the idea of participating, and the hope is the crew will be able to film in Old Trafford next May following the conclusion of the Premier League season. Howard will have a limited role in the filmmaking process as a consultant. “It’s been the easiest major project I’ve been involved in because it’s just my life,” Howard said. “And a moment in my life that I remember fondly.”