Production on Matthew McConaughey’s latest movie, Dallas Sting, has been canceled by Skydance just six weeks before shooting was due to begin. The film covers the story of an all-girls underdog soccer team from Dallas who traveled to China in 1984. McConaughey was set to play coach Bill Kinder, who helped lead the team to glory, beating Australia, Japan, and China, then going on to triumph over Italy in the tournament’s final. Booksmart star Kaitlyn Dever, also known for Dopesick and Unbelievable, had been cast as coach Kinder’s daughter.
Alongside its strong cast anchors, Dallas Sting had lined up some great talent behind the camera, too. The movie was to be directed by Kari Skogland, fresh from her spell at the helm of Marvel’s Disney+ show The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Skogland was working from a script by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, creators of the Emmy-winning GLOW. With Skydance producing, known for the last three installments of the Mission: Impossible series and more recently Top Gun: Maverick, everything looked to be in place for the upcoming shoot.
With the inspirational story of these young women’s triumph over adversity led by an impressive cast and crew, many were surprised when the plug was pulled on the film. THR reports that, following an investigation, Skydance, along with producing partners Berlanti Schechter, halted progress on Dallas Sting after they became aware of troubling claims regarding the real-life events which inspired the movie’s story. While Skydance chose not to comment, a source close to the production stated the producers were saddened by the situation and felt the story of these young female athletes was one that should be told.
With production on Dallas Sting shelved at such short notice, the seriousness of the allegations surrounding the events upon which the drama is based can only be guessed at. A halt so close to production will almost certainly leave gaps in the roster for key cast and crew. McConaughey’s portrayal of coach Kinder in the film was to be his first big-screen, live-action role since he played tough but dapper gangland boss Michael Peasron in Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen. Although he was heard most recently as the voice of musical impresario Buster Moon in Garth Jennings’ Sing 2.
With no high-profile pictures currently in production, McConaughey appears to have a quiet few months ahead. Dever can be seen in the upcoming George Clooney-Julia Roberts romantic comedy Ticket to Paradise, playing the couple’s daughter Lilly; as the titular character in Roasline, a comic retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet from the perspective of Romeo’s first love; and she has also recently wrapped on Brian Duffield’s next feature, No One Will Save You. Skogland, meanwhile, is currently in pre-production on Gal Gadot’s Cleopatra remake.