Olivia Wilde to Direct 'Perfect' Sports Biopic About Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast Kerri Strug

Even if you’re not a fan of the Olympics, it’s likely that you heard about the triumph of gymnast Kerri Strug and her incredible gold medal-winning final vault at the 1996 summer Olympic games. At the very least, you’ve probably seen the famous image of coach Béla Károlyi carrying her to the medals podium since the gymnast had torn two ligaments in her ankle, not to mention damaging her tendons, which she did just before that victorious final vault. Now Kerri Strug’s story will be told in Perfect, a new biopic in the works from Booksmart director Olivia Wilde.

If you’ve never heard the story of Kerri Strug and the 1996 Olympics, here’s a rundown of the historic event:

Perfect is in a package being shopped around the European Film Market in Berlin next week with CAA Media Finance hoping to get domestic distribution and Film Nation handling international distribution. The movie is based on Kerri Strug’s memoir Landing On My Feet, A Diary Of Dreams, which she wrote herself along with John P. Lopez. It chronicles Strug’s life, all the way from her childhood in Tucson, through her teenage training and competition, and right into sports history at just 19 years old.

Strug became an American hero overnight thanks to her dedication to taking the USA gymnastics team to a gold medal victory. Strug made the rounds to all the big talk shows, was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and even met President Bill Clinton. But I wonder if the movie will show us what life is like after all the fame and praise.

Wilde, who is also producing the movie, promises the following in an official statement provided to Deadline:

“This is a film about what real power looks like. It is an excruciatingly beautiful underdog story that will thrust the audience into the heart of Kerri Strug with unblinking, raw honesty. It is an epic sports movie that will deliver on all the wish-fulfilment that makes those films so thrilling to watch. At the same time, it is unlike any sports movie you have seen before.”

I’m always leery when filmmakers promises that a movie will be unlike similar movies that we’ve seen before, but considering that Olivia Wilde put a refreshing, female-driven spin on the high school coming-of-age party movie with Booksmart, I believe she can give us something different than what we’re expecting. I, Tonya recently offered up something a little different from the usual sports biopic, but this doesn’t sound like it will be quite as rough around the edges, so I’m wondering what will make it stand out.

The script comes from Ronnie Sandahl, who already has sports drama experience thanks to Borg/McEnroe. Sandahl will also be producing the movie along with Nik Bower for Riverstone Pictures and Thomas Benski for Pulse Films, along with Jeremy Baxter and Moss Barclay, as well as Deepak Nayer and Marisa Clifford.

As for who will play Strug, that remains to be seen as casting is underway now, so stay tuned for more.

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