Hawaii actors shine alongside A-lister Michael Fassbender in upcoming soccer flick

Filming wrapped up on the feel-good movie “Next Goal Wins” way back in 2019. But COVID and the actors strike delayed the debut.
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 3:49 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2023 at 4:45 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Filming wrapped up on the feel-good movie “Next Goal Wins” way back in 2019. But COVID and the actors strike delayed the debut.

Now the flick has finally made its way into theaters and it’s filled with faces that will be familiar to Hawaii audience.

“The fact that it’s finally coming out it’s like, wow! It’s been a long time coming for sure,” Hawaii actor Russell Satele said.

Satele and a host of other actors with Hawaii ties play the players on American Samoa’s soccer team that rebounds from the worst defeat in World Cup history.

“I am one of the teammates of the main cast of characters,” David Tuitupou said.

“I’m about halfway through the movie. I’ll get recruited as a little extra boost of talent for the coach to really refine the team to a competitive team.”

The movie was shot on Oahu.

The casting call asked for Polynesian actors and many islanders auditioned.

“I do so many different sports. When we got there we’re like, ‘We’re kicking a ball. What’s so hard about this?’ It’s not easy! It’s not an easy thing to do,” John Asi said.

Funny man Lehi Falepapalangi plays the team’s goalie.

“All of my missteps and all of my not knowing how to play was truly authentic because I really don’t know how to play in real life,” he said.

“Next Goal Wins” stars A-list actor Michael Fassbender as the comeback coach.

Popular Polynesian director Taika Waititi got the best out of the cast and crew. For the local guys, working with him was a dream come true.

“Just seeing how he spitballs ideas at these actors, give them the freewill to really make the role their own. Crazy!” Satele said.

“He brought such a fun energy that you realize people at a high level of success can still have a good time doing it,” Tuitupou said.

“Next Goal Wins” turns out to be as much about Polynesian pride as it is about soccer, and the humor will play well in Hawaii.

“Being on this set allowed us, just a bunch of Polynesian kids to play our own role,” Asi said.

You’ll recognize a lot of the actors from local TV commercials, network series like “Hawaii Five-0″ and “Magnum PI,” and other projects shot in Hawaii.

“Next Goal Wins” is family-friendly but there’s some strong language, making it a PG-13 movie.

“It’ll take you away to a place you’ve probably never been before, so I would definitely go and check it out, especially if you need a laugh. This will definitely make you laugh,” Satele said.