H.G. Bissinger’s non-fiction book Friday Night Lights told the remarkable tale of the 1988 Permian High School Panthers, a Texas high school football team who made a run at the state championship. It’s a fantastic real-life sports drama that’s been adapted not once but twice in two fan-favorites: There’s Peter Berg‘s 2004 feature film that starred Billy Bob Thornton as Coach Gary Gaines, and there’s the 2006-2011 TV series by the same name starring Kyle Chandler as Coach Eric Taylor. FNL fans might think that the story has been well and truly told in these adaptations, but Universal has other plans; they’ve tapped David Gordon Green to direct another feature-length flick.
Variety reports that the Stronger and Pineapple Express director is currently in final negotiations for the new Friday Night Lights take. Don’t expect it to be a sequel to the first film or any kind of continuation of the NBC series since it’s intended to be its own thing. The story, of course, will still center on the high school football team’s quest for a championship and the social conflicts that arise within the relatively small Texas town.
Friday Night Lights went off the air, as far as new episodes are concerned, back in 2011 but Universal has been mulling over the idea of another adaptation ever since. One option even included Chandler’s character returning in a film version of the story, but the final decision takes Friday Night Lights to an all-new setting–still in Texas–with a new cast of characters. One wonders if Universal simply had to make a new version to maintain their rights to the book and/or if enough time has passed that a new generation will spark the fandom for Friday Night Lights.
Robert Schenkkan (Hacksaw Ridge) penned the script. Brian Grazer will produce for Imagine Entertainment, with executive VP of production Jon Mone and creative executive Lexi Barta overseeing production for Universal.