Actor set to star in Don Handfield's football pic

Kurt Russell will play the lead high-school football coach in Freedom Films’ “Touchback,” which writer/director Don Handfield begins lensing this week in Michigan.

Indie pic toplines Brian Presley (“Home of the Brave”), Melanie Lynsky (“Up in the Air”) and Christine Lahti (“Obsessed”).

In “Touchback,” Presley plays a down-on-his-luck farmer and volunteer fireman whose promising high school football career was cut short when he was critically injured during a playoff game. He gets the chance to decide if he wants the life he has, or the life that could have been, when he’s unexpectedly thrust back to that fateful instant that changed his life forever.

Along with Russell, renowned football coordinator Mark Ellis of Sports Studio has joined the film. Ellis has worked on numerous sports action films, including “We Are Marshall,” “Invincible” and “The Rookie.”

“Touchback” is the first movie to go into production under a three-picture deal between Freedom Films and hedge fund Palo Verde, founded in 2008 by Paul Ross and Tony Stacy.

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