Every movie star needs to play a gruff, fish-out-of-water coach in a heartwarming sports film at least once, and Woody Harrelson is getting that opportunity with “Champions,” a new comedy film from Bobby Farrelly. Focus Features debuted the official trailer for the upcoming film December 5.
In the film, “Cheers” and “True Detective” star Harrelson plays Marcus Aldridge, a temperamental minor-league basketball coach who gets fired from his position after a series of losses and winds up facing legal trouble after crashing into a police car. Ordered by the court to fulfill a community service requirement, he coaches a basketball team consisting of players with intellectual disabilities.
Initially apathetic about the assignment and unconvinced the group has any potential as a team, Marcus ends up motivated to whip the players into shape when he realizes that competing with them in the Special Olympics could be a step towards reclaiming his old job. In the process, the group goes farther than he thought possible, and he slowly grows fond of the team. Along with Harrelson, the film also features “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” star Kaitlin Olson as his love interest, “Ghostbusters” star Ernie Hudson, Cheech Marin of “Cheech and Chong,” and Matt Cook.
“Champions” is the solo directorial debut for Farrelly, who has previously co-directed comedy films like “There’s Something About Mary,” “Me, Myself & Irene,” “Osmosis Jones,” “Shallow Hal,” “Hall Pass,” and “Dumb and Dumber To” with his brother Peter Farrelly. The Farrellys previously worked with Harrelson in 1996 on the bowling comedy film “Kingpin.” Peter Farrelly directed several films independently of his brother, most notably “Dumb and Dumber,” controversial Best Picture winner “Green Book,” and this year’s Zac Efron film “The Greatest Beer Run Ever,” which also featured Cook in a supporting role.
Farrelly directs a script by Mark Rizzo, best known for his work on the Disney animated series “Gravity Falls.” The movie is produced for Focus Features by Paul Brooks, Scott Niemeyer, and Jeremy Plager. Harrelson executive produces with Brad Kessell, Alexander Jooss, Álvaro Longoria, Javier Fesser, and Luis Manso.
Focus Features releases “Champions” into theaters March 24, 2023. Watch the full trailer below.