‘National Champions’ Will Explore Gritty World of College Sports in New Trailer

by Samantha Whidden

With National Champions set to premiere on December 10th, the production team STXFilms has released a new trailer for the upcoming college sports film

Directed by Ric Roman Waugh, who is best known for the world disaster film Greenland, National Champions follows a star quarterback who “ignites” a player’s strike just hours before the biggest football of the year. The strike was part of the fight for fair compensation, equality, and respect from the student-athletes. “To change the game, you have to risk everything.”

Adam Fogelson, Chairman of STXfilms Motion Picture Group, previously spoke about the purpose of the film and working alongside Roman Waugh. “Our experience with Ric on Greenland was nothing short of extraordinary. When we had the opportunity to work with him and our friends at Thunder Road and game1 on National Champions, we jumped at the chance.”

Fogelson stated that National Champions “taps’ into important issues and does it with “compelling, authentic, and memorable” characters. “In the best tradition of sports dramas, they will leave audiences rooting for victory. And perhaps considering the competitive nature of college sports and athletics in a different way.”

Starring in National Champions is Alexander Ludwig, Timothy Olyphant, J.K. Simmons, Kristin Chenoweth, Stephan James, Uzo Aduba, and Jeffrey Donovan. 

Stephan James & J.K. Simmons Share Details About ‘National Champions’ 

While chatting with People about National Champions, Stephan James opened up about his role as quarterback LeMarcus. His character encourages the student-athletes to strike. “I’ve been a die-hard sports fan my entire life,” James stated. “A part of me still believes one day I’ll go pro.”

The National Champions star then shared he believes that acting and sports are synonymous. “It takes hard work and teamwork with everyone working feverishly towards one goal. I think that’s part of what made this film so special to make.”

J.J. Simmons, who plays the head coach of the college football team, also stated that being a big college football fan was part of the attraction to the film for him. “Then when I read the script and talked to the director, I was hooked by the combination of passion, intelligence, and even-handedness in the story.”

‘National Champions’ Star Uzo Aduba Discusses Her Time As a Student Athlete in College

Meanwhile, Uzo Aduba also opened up about her time as a track athlete in college and how her time on the team impacted her. “Even though we were there as athletes, they really put into our spirts how to take the sport and apply it to becoming good, solid humans. [The coaches] loved their athletes. And not just because they loved the sport. It was bigger than that for them.”

The National Champions star also shared that the coaches would talk to the athletes about focusing on their own races and the idea of concentrating on the distractions in lanes to your left and right. “They showed me that you can lead with a nurturing hand and helped me recognize that we’re all part of a larger sum.”