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THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED

About The Production
In the tradition of Remember The Titans, The Rookie and Miracle, from Walt Disney Pictures comes a real-life story of a long-shot dream that came true. THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED, based on Mark Frost's best-selling book, is the remarkable yet untold story of Francis Ouimet. Francis was a working-class immigrant kid who—flanked by a 10-year-old caddie smaller than his golf bag—started with nothing and came out of nowhere to break down the barriers and become America's first golf hero nearly a century before Tiger Woods. In a world where it was believed only the wealthy and privileged could play, and win, at golf, it took an outsider to change the rules forever and prove that anyone with enough courage, grit and faith could achieve greatness.

It all came to a head at the 1913 U.S. Open. Suddenly, Francis found himself in an ultimate showdown of skill and spirit—he, the unknown upstart American, facing off against Harry Vardon, a U.S. Open winner and six-time British Open champion (a record that still stands today) who was the sport's undisputed champion. One was a towering idol, the other an impossible underdog—and their legendary battle would transcend sport to become an illustration of human determination at its best. Bill Paxton directs this inspirational tale drawn from one of the most unexpected victories in history, bringing his own innovative visual perspective to the game of golf, reframing the 18-hole match-up as a riveting Western showdown between two scrappy gunslingers.

THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED stars Shia LaBeouf (Holes, Constantine) as Francis Ouimet, the Massachusetts kid who, just three years after starting as a lowly caddie, found himself in an all-out fight for the U.S. Open title. Stephen Dillane (The Hours) stars as Harry Vardon—the genteel British champ who never expected to be challenged by a young American. The screenplay is by Mark Frost who wrote the acclaimed book of the same title, bringing to life the colorful characters of golf's early history. The producers are Larry Brezner, Mark Frost and David Blocker. The executive producer is David Steinberg.

Says Bill Paxton: "This is a story that plays out against the excitement of the golf world but is about so much more. It's about having true character, following your dreams and believing in yourself. Most of all, it's about how the only way you really grow in life is by being tested.”

In 1913, a 20-year-old kid named Francis Ouimet unexpectedly became an overnight American hero. In an electrifying standoff at golf 's U.S. Open, he stunned American audiences by proving that golf wasn't just a game for the country club elite but a sport in which any American—no matter how youthful, how poor or how unknown— could aspire to triumph. It was to become one of those rare defining moments in sports history. Inspired by Francis Ouimet, the infant sport of golf soon exploded into one of America's most popular pastimes and a source of dreams for numerous young heroes-in-the-making, all the way up to Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam.

But somehow Ouimet's fantastic story was mostly lost from American culture. Few people even knew his name until award-winning television-writer-turned-novelist Mark Frost (Hill Street Blues) wrote a book about Ouimet that highlighted his classic battle on the green with British champion Harry Vardon and his friendship with the hooky-playing grade-school caddy who talked him through the tournament. Frost's book was celebrated by critics not only as a heart-stopping sports drama but as a sweeping social history and an emotionally moving tale of a tireless underdog fighting his way to the top. The tale also seemed to be rife with cinematic potential, especially because it was that rare true story of sports heroism that had never been told on screen before.

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