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Tom Brady isn’t going to be the only New England Patriots player to have a movie made about him. No, it’s not you, Gronk. Put your shirt back on, dude. (Even though it’s nearly 70 degrees in February throughout virtually every part of the country where winter usually still has a frigid grip on the climate.)

Super Bowl XLIX hero Malcolm Butler is also going to receive the biopic treatment from Hollywood. (And actually, maybe this would have received just a bit more attention had the news about a Brady movie not come just hours later.) According to The Hollywood Reporter‘s Tatiana Siegel, producer Daniel Levin has acquired the rights to Butler’s life story for a project titled The Secondary. Levin was an executive producer on Lion, which is one of the nominees for Best Picture at the 2017 Academy Awards.

Just as Levin was compelled by Saroo Brierley, who was separated from his parents in India, raised by an Australian couple, and eventually found his birth mother 25 years later, and acquired the rights to his life story after reading about him in Vanity Fair, the producer became equally intrigued by Butler’s rise to NFL stardom.

After being cut from his community college football team, Butler worked at a Vicksburg, Mississippi Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen and continued there on weekends even after he was allowed back on the squad. Butler eventually played at West Alabama, but went undrafted despite interest from NFL teams. He was ready to return to Popeye’s when his agent got him a tryout with the Patriots, who thought Butler could become a special teams contributor.


Butler developed into a much more important player for New England during his rookie season, eventually making the play that clinched the Patriots’ Super Bowl XLIX victory over the Seattle Seahawks, intercepting Russell Wilson’s slant pass at the goal line.

Agent Derek Simpson, who got Butler that tryout, will also apparently be a key part of The Secondary since Levin secured his life story rights as well. While he was representing Butler as a NFL prospect, the lawyer was also involved in a court battle with a commercial trucking company on behalf of a paralyzed teenager.

Lion and The Secondary are against-all-odds stories of struggle and inspiration,” Levin told Siegel. “Derek would not stop until Malcolm got a chance.”

Levin’s production company Narrative Capital is currently shopping around the Butler biopic to find a distributor, so it is very early in the development process. After a distribution company or studio picks up the project, the likely next step is to put together more of a production team, find a screenwriter, and then begin looking for a director who might be interested in making the film. Then maybe we’ll have some fun in seeing who could get cast as Butler and perhaps other familiar NFL faces.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.