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Skydance & Matthew McConaughey Scrap ‘Dallas Sting’ Pic Six Weeks From Production Start Following Misconduct Investigation Into Aspects Of Girls Soccer Tale

The Rocky-esque fact-based women’s soccer film Dallas Sting has been abruptly scrapped six weeks from start of production. Full details weren’t yet forthcoming, but the pic was scrapped over an impropriety that Skydance and the producers were made aware of. After they investigated, the allegations were serious enough to get them to pull out of the movie.

Also out is Matthew McConaughey, who was set to star as the coach of a group of Dallas high school girls who headed to China in 1984 and beat some of the best women’s teams from China, Australia and Italy. Kaitlyn Dever was set to play the coach’s daughter.

This had the making of a truly inspiring sports film, and I understand that the Skydance production chiefs and the producers are heartbroken to let this one go. But the tight timeline and the allegations left them little choice. Kari Skogland was set to direct the film developed by Skydance and Berlanti Schechter Productions. Skydance was financing. Apple, which has an overall deal with Skydance, had a first look at the film, but it is unclear if any commitment was made by the streamer.

Production was to begin in October in New Orleans. Skydance and Berlanti Schechter won an auction for rights to an unpublished article by Flinder Boyd, which was turned into a script by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch (GLOW).

McConaughey had signed on to play Bill Kinder, the coach who led the rag-tag group of Texas teens toward a Rocky-esque destiny, long before the U.S. Women’s National Team achieved Olympic and World Cup dominance.

In 1984, President Reagan made a concerted effort to open relations with China. China in turn invited America to send its U.S. team to the first world championship they were holding for women’s soccer. There was only one problem – there was no U.S. Women’s Soccer Team. A nationwide search led officials to a 19-and-under league of Dallas high school girls who called themselves The Sting, after the recent Robert Redford-Paul Newman hit movie. Led by Kinder — who had no prior experience coaching soccer before he formed the team — the story of how this passionate group of young women got to China was miraculous. And what they did against the world’s top women’s teams from China, Australia and Italy — comprised of grown women who played together for years — was nothing short of a miracle.

In order to form the team nearly 40 years ago, Kinder had to get a note from a gynecologist asserting that playing soccer would not harm a woman’s reproductive organs. Texas parents who envisioned their daughters waving pom-poms at halftime soon became the cheerleaders for this eclectic mix of girls drilled to precision by a Lombardi-like coach, and became a local powerhouse. They then overcame bureaucracy just to be able to make the trip, and rose to the occasion despite being underdogs against dominant international teams. All this led by a coach who so believed in The Sting that he charged $85,000 on his credit cards for non-refundable tickets to ensure the team got to China, where many expected they would lose badly.

Unfortunately, this dashes hopes that the inspiring tale of these heroic female soccer players being memorialized onscreen. No comment from the principals at this moment in time.

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