STXfilms to Re-Team with Ric Roman Waugh for Sports Drama «National Champions» To Star Stephan James and J.K. Simmons from John Wick Producer Thunder Road and game1

DOUGLAS, Isle of Man and BURBANK, Calif., April 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Eros STX Global Corporation (NYSE: ESGC) («ErosSTX»), a global…

DOUGLAS, Isle of Man and BURBANK, Calif., April 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Eros STX Global Corporation (NYSE: ESGC) («ErosSTX»), a global entertainment company, announced today that STXfilms has acquired the rights to Thunder Road and game1’s sports drama National Champions, which is set to star Golden Globe nominee Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk, 21 Bridges) and Academy Award® winner J. K. Simmons (Whiplash, Justice League), it was announced today by Adam Fogelson, Chairman of the STXfilms Motion Picture Group.

Written by Adam Mervis and based on his play of the same name, the film is produced by Basil Iwanyk and Brendon Boyea of Thunder Road (John Wick) and Greg Economou of game1. Jonathan Fuhrman of Thunder Road, Matthew Helderman and Luke Taylor of Bondit Media Capital, Christian Mercuri of The Capstone Group, Michael Smith, and Adam Mervis are executive producers.

The big business of college sports is explored in National Champions when a star quarterback (James) ignites a player’s strike 72 hours before the biggest game of the year to fight for fair compensation, equality, and respect for the athletes who put their bodies and health on the line for their schools.

The film is set to shoot in New Orleans this May and is being fully financed by BondIt Media Capital and The Capstone Group. CAA Media Finance Group and Range Media Partners brokered the deal.

«Our experience with Ric on Greenland was nothing short of extraordinary,» said Fogelson. «When we had the opportunity to work with him and our friends at Thunder Road and game1 on National Champions, we jumped at the chance. This is a film that taps into important issues and does it with compelling, authentic, and memorable characters. In the best tradition of sports dramas, they will leave audiences rooting for victory and perhaps considering the competitive nature of college sports and athletics in a different way.»

Waugh is represented by Range MP; James is represented by Norbert Abrams of Noble Caplan Abrams, Range MP and CAA; Simmons is represented by Gersh and Wolf Kasteler; Mervis is represented by Grandview and A3.

Waugh is a director, writer, and producer. He most recently reunited with frequent collaborator Gerard Butler on the STX worldwide hit Greenland, which opened #1 in 29 markets internationally. In 2019, Waugh and Butler teamed for the worldwide box office hit Angel Has Fallen, the most successful film in the Has Fallen series, and they will next reteam on the upcoming action thriller Kandahar. Waugh also wrote and directed the thriller Snitch, starring Dwayne Johnson. Additionally, he directed Felon from his own screenplay for Sony Pictures. The prison-based drama starred Val Kilmer. Waugh also produced and directed the critically acclaimed documentary That Which I Love Destroys Me, about two special operations soldiers grappling with PTSD as they return to the United States.

Stephan James has quickly established himself as an incredibly dynamic lead talent in both film and television. James, a native of Canada, has held the honor of portraying several real-life figures in African American history. He starred as Olympics hero Jesse Owens in Race, directed by Stephen Hopkins, for which he received an NAACP Image Award nomination and won a Canadian Screen Award. In Ava DuVernay’s, acclaimed Selma, James portrayed John Lewis, the son of sharecroppers and a student activist with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee; Mr. Lewis later became a U.S. Congressman. The drama illuminated the progress of protest marches in Selma, Alabama.

In January 2019 Stephan received his first Golden Globe nomination for his starring role opposite Julia Roberts in Amazon Prime’s hit drama series Homecoming, a psychological thriller based on the hit podcast of the same name and developed by Sam Esmail. The Prime Video series also received Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award nominations for Best Drama Series. James also starred in Barry Jenkins’ acclaimed, Golden-Globe, Film Independent Spirit Award and Critics’ Choice Award-nominated film, If Beale Street Could Talk. The film was also named one of the American Film Institute’s Top 10 Films of the Year, one of the top Films of 2018 by the National Board of Review.  James was recently honored at the Canadian Screen Awards as the first ever recipient of the Radius Award, given to a Canadian film or television professional who is making waves internationally.  In September of 2020, James was added to The Canadian Academy’s Board of Directors.

James most recently starred in #FreeRayShawn a drama from producer Antione Fuqua which premiered on Quibi in April 2020 and for which he earned his first Emmy nomination. He also starred in Season Two of Homecoming and in the feature film 21 Bridges alongside Chadwick Boseman. Next up James stars in «Delia’s Gone» with Marisa Tomei and in «The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace» in which he will play ‘Robert Peace’ alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor who is also directing the film based on the Jeff Hobbs best-selling novel of the same name.

His other credits include FOX’s limited series, Shots Fired, biopic When the Game Stands Tall, Perfect Sisters, alongside Georgie Henley and Abigail Breslin, Director X’s Undone (also known as Across the Line), and David Sutherland’s Home Again, for which he earned his first Canadian Screen Award nomination.

True to his roots, James co-founded an initiative over four years ago that is now a non-profit, B.L.A.C.K. with the goal of creating opportunities and building bridges for aspiring Canadian artists of color to gain access to the entertainment industry. At the 2019 Toronto Film Festival the B.L.A.C.K. team announced their inaugural Monologue Slam Program, intended to give inner-city kids a voice to be heard.

James currently splits his time between his native Toronto and Los Angeles.

J.K. Simmons won the Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of a merciless jazz instructor in Sony Pictures Classics’ Whiplash. He will next star alongside Chris Pratt in the sci-fi thriller The Tomorrow War and was most recently seen staring in Hulu’s Palm Springs alongside Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti. His other recent credits include the Apple TV+ miniseries «Defending Jacob,» the critically acclaimed Starz series «Counterpart,» the STXfilms action thriller 21 Bridges, Jason Reitman’s The Front Runner, Universal’s thriller The Snowman, and the Warner Bros. comedy Father Figures. In Justice League, including Zack Snyder’s cut now on HBO Max, he portrayed the iconic Commissioner Gordon.


STXfilms, a division of Eros STX Global Corporation, is a next-generation film studio that produces, acquires, distributes, and markets motion pictures at scale. From blockbusters like Greenland, Hustlers, Bad Moms, and The Upside to hits like The Gentlemen, Molly’s Game, and The Gift, STXfilms produces star-driven films for a global audience. In just 5 short years, its slate of films has already grossed over $1.8b in global theatrical box office. With a wide range of partners including Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Showtime (which handle the physical and premium television releases of STXfilms content, respectively), the studio is a fast-growing, industry powerhouse. Upcoming films include Queenpins starring Kristen Bell, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Paul Walter Hauser, and Vince Vaughn, a new action-comedy film directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Jason Statham, Hugh Grant, Aubrey Plaza, and Josh Hartnett, The Marsh King’s Daughter starring Daisy Ridley and directed by Neil Burger, American Sole starring Pete Davidson, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Camila Mendes, Offset, and Bad Bunny, The Godmother starring Jennifer Lopez, Universe’s Most Wanted starring Dave Bautista, Muscle starring Vin Diesel and directed by F. Gary Gray, and Violence of Action starring Chris Pine.

ErosSTX Global Corporation:

Eros STX Global Corporation, («ErosSTX» or «The Company») (NYSE: ESGC) is a global entertainment company that acquires, co-produces and distributes films, digital content & music across multiple formats such as theatrical, television and OTT digital media streaming to consumers around the world. Eros International Plc changed its name to Eros STX Global Corporation pursuant to the July 2020 merger with STX Entertainment, merging two international media and entertainment groups. The combination of one of the largest Indian OTT players and premier studio with one of Hollywood’s fastest-growing independent media companies has created an entertainment powerhouse with a presence in over 150 countries. ErosSTX delivers star-driven premium feature film and episodic content across a multitude of platforms at the intersection of the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing global markets, including US, India, Middle East, Asia and China. The company also owns the rapidly growing OTT platform Eros Now which has rights to over 12,000 films across Hindi and regional languages and had 211.5 million registered users and 36.2 million paying subscribers as of September 30, 2020. For further information, please visit


Founded by producer Basil Iwanyk, Thunder Road Pictures is one of the most prolific and respected independent film companies in Hollywood. Its films have grossed over $3.5 billion worldwide and have garnered nominations from the Academy Awards®, Golden Globes, Producers Guild Awards, Writers Guild Awards, Directors Guild Awards, and AFI Awards. Most recently, Thunder Road produced Ric Roman Waugh’s disaster epic Greenland, starring Gerard Butler; John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, which received the best reviews in the franchise, grossed $320M+ at the worldwide box office, and built upon the success of the previous installments, John Wick and John Wick: Chapter 2, all starring Keanu Reeves; and Neil Burger’s sci-fi thriller Voyagers, starring Colin Farrell, Tye Sheridan, Fionn Whitehead, and Lily-Rose Depp. Other notable credits include the critically acclaimed drama The Town, directed by Academy Award® winner Ben Affleck; Sicario, directed by Academy Award® nominee Denis Villeneuve and starring Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, and Josh Brolin, as well as its sequel, Sicario: Day of the Soldado; Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River, starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen; and the Oscar® winning A Star Is Born, directed by and starring Academy Award® nominee Bradley Cooper opposite Lady Gaga. Thunder Road’s upcoming projects include the Halle Berry-helmed Bruised, which sold to Netflix at TIFF 2020. Thunder Road is currently in production on Monkey Man, Dev Patel’s directorial debut, and the stylized revenge thriller and the romantic comedy Text for You, starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Sam Heughan. Additionally, Thunder Road will start production on John Wick 4 this summer.


game1 is a sports-oriented content studio that is changing the landscape of sports storytelling through the development, production, and distribution of premium sports-oriented content in the form of feature films, scripted and unscripted television, and podcasts. The studio, headed by prolific Hollywood producer, Basil Iwanyk, and esteemed sports industry executive, Greg Economou, is based in Los Angeles and New York. The mission of game1 is to create a bridge between the best sports-based intellectual property and brands and the brightest that the Hollywood film industry has to offer, including the greatest actors, writers, directors, and producers in the industry. For more information, please visit and join us on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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