Kyle Marvin’s feature directorial debut, “80 for Brady,” is an epic retelling of the 2017 Super Bowl, where then-quarterback of the New England Patriots Tom Brady guided his team to a historic comeback victory. But the sports comedy is grounded in jarring realism as Brady and former Patriots like Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman don their old jerseys for a cinematic reenactment of the nail-biting game.
“There was a moment we had all the trailers out off set, and I had gone back to the trailers for something, and I stepped out,” Marvin told Variety. “It was Tom and Gronk, Amendola and Edelman in their period specific — Super Bowl specific — outfits. I was like, ‘Woah, this is wild.'”
That same day, Brady leaked a photo on Twitter of him and his fellow teammates sporting their 2017 championship looks, in spite of ongoing efforts to keep costuming details under wraps: “BREAKING NEWS: Nah Just kidding, we did get the band back together to shoot ’80 for Brady’ though,” Brady captioned the July 2022 post.
A plethora of historical footage was utilized to replicate the nuance of the wardrobe and makeup worn by players at the championship game. Marvin said physical details down to the smudging of black under-eye makeup were key contributors to the film’s believability, along with a convincing performance from Brady as himself, having lived through the game first-hand.
“I’ve worked with non-actors before and there’s always sort of a little bit of a learning curve. And we were texting ahead of when he was coming to perform, and I was sort of giving him my thoughts and advice on acting,” Marvin explained. “When we got there, he said something to me, which was like, ‘I like coaching. I like coaches; so you’re the coach now.’ There was that sort of level of trust and respect between the two of us.”
The upcoming film follows the true story of four female friends in their 80s — played by Academy Award winners Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Morena and Sally Field — who attend the 2017 Super Bowl for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Brady play with the Patriots, the team where the now seven-time Super Bowl champion made his name for his first 20 seasons in the league.
“Inside of that stadium are 80,000 people, each of which have an incredible story of how they got there and what that game meant to them in that moment,” Marvin said. “But the one we captured was grounded in a real relationship of four female friends who love the Patriots. That was sort of the jumping off point for this particular story, but everyone’s got a story, and we hope to sort of encapsulate the spirit of all of those stories in this particular one.”
Despite not being the main character, Brady’s titular role in the period piece lends itself to a thoughtful reflection on his storied career. The timing of the film’s release comes at the end of a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which Brady signed in 2020 after his long-time tenure with the Patriots.
“To be that successful for that long, you can’t help but be loved or hated — but regardless respected,” Marvin said of Brady. “That respect sort of just turns into admiration, ultimately. And I think there’s so much admiration for Tom in his career and what he’s accomplished. It’s sort of undeniable how successful he’s been and how successful the women have been.”
Moving forward, Marvin suspects Brady, who also produced the upcoming film, will “keep doing the thing that he feels the most challenged by” — whether that be another season of playing with The Bucs or retiring football for more on-set roles in Hollywood.
“80 for Brady” premieres globally on Jan. 5 at the start of the 34th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival.