Westworld and Weird: The Al Yankovic Story star Evan Rachel Wood has been tapped to add her name to the growing cast of the queer-centered cheerleading film, Backspot. Variety reports that the critically celebrated actress will join previously announced stars Devery Jacobs (Reservation Dogs) and Kudakwashe Rutendo in D.W. Waterson’s feature-length directorial debut.
With a plot that sounds similar to a dramatized version of Netflix’s smash reality drama Cheer, Backspot will tell the story of two young queer athletes (Jacobs, Rutendo) who demonstrate abilities far beyond that of their other cheer squad peers. When their skills and dedication to the sport are noticed by professional cheer coach Eileen McNamara (Wood), the duo is plucked from their average team and thrown into the big leagues. It’s here that they’ll join the group known as the Thunderhawks and push themselves beyond their limits as they try to win big and secure their spots on the team.
A new story for members of the queer community to look forward to, Backspot sounds like its plot won’t necessarily focus on a love story but something more along the lines of a love for the sport like the Creed franchise or Field of Dreams. Elliot Page will serve the feature as an executive producer alongside Katisha Shaw, J.C. Davidson, and Matthew Jordan Smith. Jacobs and Waterson also produce with Alona Metzer and Martin Katz.
No stranger to the world of cinematic queer storytelling, Wood has recently starred in Miranda July’s heist film Kajillionaire as well as Carlos and Jason Sanchez’s psychological thriller Allure. We’d also be remiss to not mention her role opposite Nikki Reed in the 2003 drama Thirteen. While it didn’t technically have a queer-centered storyline, it was (sadly) one of the most representative films of the time for those in the community.
Recognizing the significance that a project and story like this one will hold for the LGBTQIA+ community, Page Boy Productions head Smith commented that “the importance of excellence in queer storytelling has never been more necessary and attracting a dream cast which includes the transcendent genius that is Evan Rachel Wood is a testament to the quality of the Backspot production.” Further praising the actress, who recently came out with a documentary titled Phoenix Rising that put her story as an abuse survivor in the spotlight, Smith referred to Wood as having “multidimensional talent” as well as a “natural raw power” that audiences will see play out on the screen.
As of right now, no release date for Backspot has been set but the film has wrapped its principal production.