Thomasin McKenzie to Lead Kerri Strug Movie

Olympic gymnast Kerri Strug became an American hero overnight thanks to her gold medal-winning final vault at the 1996 summer Olympic games. The story took the nation by storm, and now it will be told on the big screen in Perfect, a new film that will be directed by Olivia Wilde (Booksmart). After an extensive search for a young star to take the lead role, the filmmaker has chosen Jojo Rabbit star Thomasin McKenzie to vault into the “intimate and unflinching portrait of grit and determination.”

If you’re not familiar with Kerri Strug’s story, here’s a great profile of her famous moment from the Olympics:

For those who don’t know, Kerri Strug’s gold-medal winning vault at the 1996 summer Olympics came after she had torn two ligaments in her ankle and damaged her tendons. With those injuries, she still took one final victorious vault to win the medal, and the famous image that accompanied the publicity tour she went on afterwards included her coach Béla Károlyi carrying her to the medals podium. It’s truly an incredible tale of athleticism.

Olivia Wilde has been busy in post-production on her upcoming movie Don’t Worry Darling, but she’s also been taking the time to meet with a lot of young actresses to take the lead role in Perfect. Deadline says Thomasin McKenzie blew away the executives with her audition, and now the job belongs to her.

When the project was first announced over a year ago, Wilde said, “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.” She also said it’s “unlike any sports movie you have seen before,” which seems like publicity fluff, but Wilde is a filmmaker on the rise after debuting with the terrific Booksmart, so maybe she has a trick up her sleeve.

Wilde will be directing from a script by Ronnie Sandahl, and both will also executive produce the movie. Joining them as producers will be Nik Bower and Jeremy Baxter through Riverstone Pictures and Thomas Benski and Moss Barclay through Pulse Films. Plus, Deepak Nayar of Riverstone and Marisa Clifford of Pulse will act as executive producers. Production is slated to begin early in 2022.

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