×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Biopic of Everton and England Soccer Star ‘Dixie’ Dean Underway (EXCLUSIVE)

Toby Kebbell will play the iconic 1920s footballer in movie project that will reveal how his family helped him deal with mental health issues

A movie dramatizing the life of William Ralph “Dixie” Dean, one of England’s most legendary soccer stars, will shoot later this year. Dean will be played by Toby Kebbell (“Planet of the Apes”) and the picture will take in his career, his little-known struggle with mental-health issues, and how his family, notably his daughter Barbara, helped him cope.

Barbara is a consultant on the picture and said she hopes it will celebrate her father’s achievements as well as shine a light on mental-health issues, which were a taboo topic in Dixie’s time. “There was no help for me as there was such a stigma back then, but I hope this film can help others,” she said. “My father was a hero but I’ve kept his secret for a long time. I buried it. It was something my mother, Ethel, and I kept close to our hearts.”

The iconic center forward was one of soccer’s first superstars, and played for his country and Everton Football Club, famously scoring 60 goals in the 1928 season, a record that still stands. Although a star player, Dixie forged his career generations before huge transfer fees and pay packets, traveling to matches with the fans and cementing his place in soccer lore.

A year before his record-breaking 60-goal season, he had suffered multiple injuries in a motorbike accident and defied doctors to return to the game. A statue of Dixie stands outside Everton FC’s Goodison Park stadium.

Sara Jandrain (“The Prom”) and Orian Williams (“Control”) are producing the film, and Simon Aboud (“This Beautiful Fantastic”) will direct from a script from theater director and writer Matt Aston and John McEvoy. Greg Schenz VP of 13 Films exec produces and principal photography starts this fall.

Jandrain said that the issues touched upon, as revealed by Barbara, show a side to the story of Dixie Dean and his family not seen before: “She opens our eyes to the heroics of not only her dad but of her and her mum when they found a way to survive. This is very much a story about women and men equally.”

“It is an incredible story that feels utterly modern,” Aboud added. “A story that centers on the incredible strength of women who refused to accept that Dixie’s life was over and ultimately, through Barbara, brought him back to the football club he had loved all his life.”

Kebbell is represented by CAA and Independent, Aboud by Gersh, Independent and Untitled Talent, and Aston by Colin Blumeneau at The Production Exchange.

More Film

  • Bruce Tufeld Dead: Hollywood Agent and

    Hollywood Agent and Manager Bruce Tufeld Dies at 66

    Bruce Tufeld, a Hollywood agent and manager who once repped stars like Rob Lowe, Laura Dern, and Kelsey Grammer, died Tuesday in Los Angeles as a result of complications from liver cancer. He was 66. The son of respected television announcer Richard “Dick” Tufeld and Adrienne Tufeld, Bruce began his career as an assistant at ICM [...]

  • Bruce Dern

    Film News Roundup: Bruce Dern's 'The Lears' Bought by Vertical for February Release

    In today’s film news roundup, Bruce Dern’s “The Lears” and “Angels Are Made of Light” are acquired, Cold War drama “Stanley Cage” is launched and a documentary about Madonna’s early music career gets a release. ACQUISITIONS Vertical Entertainment has acquired North American rights from NeoClassics Films to “The Lears,” starring Bruce Dern in a modern-day [...]

  • Octavia Spencer Bryce Dallas Howard

    Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard to Reunite for Comedy 'Fairy Tale Ending'

    Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard will reunite for the ensemble comedy “Fairy Tale Ending.” Jim Hecht (“Ice Age: The Meltdown) and Tracy McMillan (“Marvel’s Runaways”) are writing the screenplay. Howard will also produce the Universal movie through her Nine Muses Entertainment alongside Eric Carlson and Susan Carlson. Seth MacFarlane and Erica Huggins will produce [...]

  • Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at DuArt

    Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at New York's DuArt Film Labs, Dies at 88

    Robert Smith, a longtime executive with New York’s DuArt Film Labs, died Jan. 11 in Montvale, N.J. He was 88. Smith spent some 62 years with DuArt, the film processing and post-production facility founded in 1922 in the penthouse of an automobile garage in Midtown. Smith rose to president of DuArt before retiring in 2015. [...]

  • Bird Box

    Los Angeles On-Location Feature Filming Surges 12.2% in 2018

    On-location feature filming in Greater Los Angeles expanded impressively in 2018, gaining 12.2% to 4,377 shooting days, according to FilmL.A. Production activity for feature films rose 15.5% to 1,078 shooting days during the fourth quarter, with 146 days coming from projects receiving California tax credits — including Netflix’s “Bird Box,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a [...]

  • 'Ghostbusters': First Look at Jason Reitman's

    Watch the First Teaser for Jason Reitman's 'Ghostbusters' Sequel

    If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, it’s time to watch a teaser for Jason Reitman’s “Ghostbusters” forthcoming film. Sony Pictures released a first look at the upcoming movie, a sequel to the 1984 classic. The footage shows a glimpse of the memorable station wagon Ecto-1. The studio announced on Tuesday that the wheels are [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content