Bend It Like Beckham may get all the headlines, but as far as pure, unadulterated soccer films go, there’s no better one than Goal!: The Dream Begins. Goal!: The Dream Begins was produced by Lawrence Bender, the man behind such legendary Hollywood films as Inglourious Basterds, Good Will Hunting, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and 2, An Inconvenient Truth, Jackie Brown, Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Born in 1957 in New York City’s world-famous borough the Bronx, Lawrence Bender has made a career out of having an eye for great stories and ensuring that they lose nothing during the transition from page to screen. As such, and especially considering Bender’s resume, one of the best compliments I can give Goal!: The Dream Begins is to say that Lawrence Bender’s work on the film is one of the best examples of his skills as a producer to date.
Goal!: The Dream Begins is a story about a young Mexican American named Santiago Munez who is plucked from obscurity and his modest upbringing in Los Angeles and thrust into the middle of the world of professional soccer in England after a British scout discovers him. Over the course of his first season as a professional footballer, we witness Santiago’s struggles and triumphs as he transitions from following his dreams to facing the reality of what a dream come true actually looks like in the real world.
What makes Goal!: The Dream Begins so special is its ability to perfectly balance the wide-eyed optimism of pursuing your dreams with the stark realism you will face as you struggle to face the consequences of making your dreams come true. It is an inspiring story but with the caveat that you should be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it. By that, I simply mean that Goal!: The Dream Begins doesn’t sugarcoat the realities of the life of a professional soccer player, which enables its message to hit home in a way that being too realistic or too optimistic would never allow.
That type of balanced storytelling is the reason Goal!: The Dream Begins is my favorite Lawrence Bender film. That’s saying quite a bit considering Bender has produced three films that have earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture (Inglourious Basterds, Pulp Fiction, and Good Will Hunting). Despite the greatness of those films, I stand firmly by my belief that Goal!: The Dream Begins is the best movie Lawrence Bender has ever produced.
Zachary Levi, star of the upcoming DC Extended Universe film Shazam, says that he wants Wonder Woman to have a cameo.
In a recent interview with ET Online, he was asked what other DCEU superheroes he thought should appear in the movie. Levi immediately focused on the superheroine—or rather, her actress, Gal Gadot.
“Wonder Woman, because she’s awesome. I think getting a cameo from anybody would be super cool, but I just think Gal Gadot is so effervescent. She has such a charm. And she seems like a really cool broad,” he said.
He also noted Wondy’s potential with his character. “I think it would be really funny to have the 14-year-old Billy Batson inside of Shazam that’s really awkward around this beautiful Amazonian. I just think that would be really awesome.”
Shazam focuses on Billy Batson, a young boy who is given the power to transform into an adult superhero by saying the magic word “Shazam!” Levi will be playing the superpowered form, (traditionally “Captain Marvel” but, based on his comments, possibly called “Shazam” here). The normal “Billy” identity will be played by Asher Angel, best known for his role as Jonah Beck in the TV series Andi Mack.
There are other reasons why Wonder Woman could be a good pick for the film. Like her, Billy has ties to Greek mythology, deriving his powers from six legendary figures (Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury, and odd-man-out Solomon). Some have questioned how Billy can get these powers, given that the gods are dead in the DCEU; perhaps Wonder Woman could show up and provide an answer.
On a meta level, however, there is the fact that Wonder Woman is the only DCEU film that has widespread acclaim from critics and audiences, and represents the more hopeful tone that the franchise wants going forward; director David F. Sandberg says that Shazam will be similarly upbeat. Furthermore, Shazam (release date April 5, 2019) will come just a few months ahead of Wonder woman 2 (November 1), so this could be a good way to promote the lesser-known property while getting people pumped for her solo return.
Director James Gunn has already had a lengthy career as a director and producer, but he has also become one of the most prominent names in Marvel.
Gunn’s work has been a mix between the horror and comedy genres and his big hit came in 2014 with Guardians of the Galaxy, putting him in the ranks of a superstar director almost instantaneously. This was in spite of the fact that the Guardians weren’t as well known in the Marvel universe as other characters, but by the end of it all he had fun directing it and fans had equally as much fun watching it, proving that Marvel can do anything.
Naturally, because of Guardians’ success a sequel was greenlit and now Gunn is working on directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and is in prime position to make another massive hit once the movie hits theaters in a year. But while Gunn is a huge name as far as the Marvel Cinematic Universe goes, Marvel was not the only brand trying to attach him to their work. As it turns out, Gunn could’ve also done some movies for the DC Extended Universe.
According to Gunn’s Facebook page he revealed that he had been offered several jobs by DC, all of which he declined in the past. He didn’t give a reason as to why he turned their offers down but he said that the characters of Shazam, Metal Men, Swamp Thing and Jonah Hex were among some of the DC properties that he would’ve enjoyed making a movie about.
Gunn never mentioned exactly when DC contacted him or what properties they would’ve let him take up. A film about the aforementioned Shazam! is already in the works right now, with Dwayne Johnson set to co-star in the film but there’s no word on what director will be producing the film. One important thing to consider is that Gunn’s duties after this next Guardians movie isn’t set in stone so it’s not a reach to say he may join up with DC after all. It’s not a sure thing, though, since Gunn wants to be involved in all aspects of film production so signing is unlikely.