Pinball might not be where it is today without GQ writer Roger Sharpe. A pinball wizard in his spare time, he used his skill and knowledge of the game to go before the Manhattan City Council and prove definitively that it is no mere game of chance, earning it an exemption from prohibitions on gambling. His story will now be told in the Bragg Brothers' (Austin and Meredith Bragg) new film Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game and Collider can exclusively reveal the trailer which sets up the greatest shot of Sharpe's life. In addition, we can also reveal that Vertical Entertainment will release the film day and date on March 17.
The trailer kicks off with an older Sharpe (Dennis Boutsikaris) asked to retell the tale of his legendary shot. It then cuts back to 1975 New York where Sharpe (Mike Faist) is an upstart writer for GQ with everything going for him. He hit it off with his date Ellen (Crystal Reed) and he's a legend in the game of pinball, his preferred game to help him focus. It never occurred to him, however, that New York had outlawed pinball due to its classification as a game of chance and thus its affiliation with gambling. Thanks to GQ and the Music and Amusement Association, however, he gets the chance of a lifetime to play the game at city hall to show the out-of-touch politicians what's what. For as odd as it sounds, it's his pinball game in front of a bunch of suits that will ultimately redeem the game for future generations of pinball enthusiasts. In his journey to save the game, he finds love with Ellen and commits to her just as he did to the game he loves.
Pinball boasts a strong cast with the BAFTA and Tony-nominated Faist and Teen Wolf alum Reed leading a group that includes Boutsikaris (Better Call Saul), Christopher Convery (Prisoner’s Daughter), Damian Young (Ozark), and Mike Doyle (New Amsterdam). Faist notably appeared in Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning adaptation of West Side Story which earned him his lone BAFTA nod, and he'll next join Zendaya and Josh O'Connor in Luca Guadagnino's next film Challengers. Reed, meanwhile, recently reprised her role as Allison Argent in Teen Wolf: The Movie and is also well-known for her starring role in the short-lived Swamp Thing series.
The Bragg Brothers' Debut Already Made Waves on the Festival Circuit
Pinball marks the feature debut for the Braggs who previously created the acclaimed web series The Defenders of Stan. They initially premiered their first film on the festival circuit where it garnered high praise, even taking home both the Audience Choice and IFJA Directorial Debut Awards at the Heartland International Film Festival.
Summer Crockett Moore, Tony Glazer, Stacey Parks, Lana Link, and Rob Pfaltzgraff were all on board to produce alongside the real-life Sharpe who executive-produced with Nick Reid. "MPI Original Films is pleased to partner with Vertical to bring this uplifting and charming story to theaters and homes across the U.S.," Pfaltzgraff said of the project. "With an exceptional cast and the brilliant writer/directors The Bragg Brothers, Pinball's message about taking chances in life will resonate with audiences, even if they don't know much about the game or its quirky history." Tony Piantedos, Vertical's Senior Vice President of Acquisitions, also had high praise for the film, adding:
We are thrilled to bring this wonderfully crafted and exceptionally well-acted film to audiences this spring. Visually capturing the look and feel of 1970’s New York City, this unique story is so engaging and different, it will bring a smile to your face and warm your heart allowing you to feel everyone has a reset button in life – no quarters needed.
Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game premieres on March 17 courtesy of Vertical. Check out the exclusive trailer below.