A precocious athlete experiences unparalleled success at a rapid rate. Sometimes, there’s a cost behind the scenes, far away from the playing field. The Phenom drills deep down into that.
The first trailer for writer-director Noah Buschel’s sports drama swirls around more of the latter than the former. Major-league rookie pitcher Hopper Gibson (Johnny Simmons) can’t find the plate, so he’s sent down to the minor leagues and begins sessions with an unorthodox sports psychologist (Paul Giamatti). In the process, hidden conflicts with his overbearing father (Ethan Hawke) are brought to light.
Hopper’s relationship with his father is something that haunts him: “Picture my dad, and I all see is a shadow,” he says.
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Hawke was drawn to the project because it was dissimilar to other sports films. “I love sports movies, but so many of them have to deal with so many clichés,” he told EW at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. “There’s a quality to the writing — [Simmons’] character was so interesting to me. In a way, it was more reminiscent of Ordinary People than it was of [Miracle].”
See the exclusive first trailer above. The Phenom opens in theaters and VOD on June 24.