The film “Home Team” is inspired by the true story of former NFL coach and Super Bowl Champion Sean Payton, played by Kevin James.
It’s based on Payton’s time coaching his son’s 6th grade football team during a year-long suspension from the NFL. James said the story and support from fellow cast members allowed him to explore the more dramatic side of acting.
What You Need To Know
- Kevin James plays NFL coach Sean Payton in the new film "Home Team"
- Actor Taylor Lautner’s connection with Payton led to the film's creation
- James says he picked up some parenting tips from Payton
“The story itself is such an amazing story that it lends itself to an emotional performance, and a fun performance,” James said. “And there is comedy in it, you know, but it's working with great guys like Taylor. Honestly, it really grounds it and enables me to play off.
"You don't really think about, 'Oh, I gotta be dramatic here or, you know, comedic,' it's just, you're kind of reacting to the script, and the story, and you got great actors that honestly just suck you in," he added. "You just go with it. So I'm grateful to them.”
The script for “Home Team” landed in the hands of Adam Sandler and his production company, “Happy Madison,” thanks to actor Taylor Lautner and a love connection between Payton’s daughter, Meaghan, and screenwriter Chris Titone.
“It’s a crazy story,” said Lautner. “I met Sean when I was filming the final two Twilight movies in Baton Rouge. We became friends. And he was visiting me on the set of “Ridiculous Six,” another Sandler movie, and he brought his daughter, and his daughter met Chris, who's Sandler's brother-in-law. They've been together ever since. Chris ended up writing the script about, you know, Meaghan's dad. And I was asked to be involved.”
There are plenty of laughs in this “Happy Madison” production — but the heart of the movie is about being a better parent.
“He chose to; you know what, I want to reconnect with my son, because it's the most important thing to me,” James said. “And that ended up being the greatest season of football in his life coaching. He won it all because of the relationship he's got with his kid. And it taught me a lot. You know, it taught me to do the same thing and try to act the same way with my kids.”
“Home Team” is streaming now on Netflix.