Today we hear from Variety that Russell has signed on as a high school American Football coach in director Don Handfield’s “Touchback”. A quick skim through IMDb suggests that Handfield, who is writing the script as well as directing, has rather more experience as an actor than as either a director or a screenwriter, so we will reserve judgement on this one until we have a little more to go on.
As for the story of the film, Brian Presley plays a volunteer fire fighter and farmer who keeps wondering how his life might have turned out, had his dreams of a career in American Football not been cut short by a life-changing injury. He finds himself somehow back in the past, reliving the moment of the injury, facing the choice between altering the course of his life from what it has become to what it might have been.
If all of that sounds very familiar, that is likely because it is. Everything from It’s a Wonderful Life, through Quantum Leap, to more recent offerings like 17 Again, The Family Man, Frequency and even Hot Tub Time Machine have touched on or explored this idea of “if you had it all to do over again, would you do it differently?” Whether Touchback will offer something of a fresh take on this well-worn path, or simply prove to be derivative, only time will tell.
We’re assuming that Russell will play Presley’s coach in the flashback sections of the film, which also has Melanie Lynskey (Up In The Air, The Informant!) and Christine Lahti on board, with Mark Ellis (We Are Marshall, Invincible) handling the co-ordination of the football sequences. Shooting has begun this week in Michigan.