A League Apart – New details on the Wrexham AFC rom-com

Wales-based film and television production outfit Mad as Birds have teamed up with Director SJ Evans (Hiraeth) on original British romantic comedy, A LEAGUE APART. The feature film is in the final stages of development, with plans to begin filming in Summer 2021.

Written by the late Robin Bell, A LEAGUE APART follows Phil, a lovable yet down-on-his-luck man obsessed with his failing Wrexham AFC (soccer) team. His American girlfriend, Christina, wants more out of life and love – but does he? Before Phil loses her forever, can he prove that Christina is more important to him than Wrexham AFC winning? To be in the same league, you have to at least try… and believe.

Welshman Celyn Jones (Submergence, Set Fire To The Stars) has been cast in the lead role of Phil; 2021 will be a busy year for the BAFTA-winning actor, writer and producer, who recently announced his directorial debut, The Almond And The Seahorse, which will shoot with Rebel Wilson and Janet McTeer in early 2021, also for Mad as Birds.

British film and television veteran Ricky Tomlinson (The Royle Family, Mike Bassett: England Manager) is also attached to star in the romantic comedy, with further casting to be announced in the coming weeks. 

A LEAGUE APART is a work of fiction, but its climax is centered around the real-life 1992 FA Cup clash between bottom of the league underdogs Wrexham and reigning Division One champions, Arsenal – referred to as one of the greatest FA Cup “giant-killings” of all time.

Wrexham AFC has recently hit the headlines globally with the announcement of the club’s new owners: Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, who aim to make Wrexham – the third oldest club in the world – a “global force” in football.

Director SJ Evans said of today’s announcement, “We’re so excited to be bringing A LEAGUE APART to life – this has been a passion project for me for two main reasons – firstly, I’m a lifelong Wrexham fan and was at the famed Arsenal match and remember running on to the pitch with the rest of the town. Secondly, when Robin passed away in 2019, I promised his family that this film would be his legacy and I will do everything in my power to make it the best film possible, so I was thrilled when Mad As Birds came on board the project last year.”

Producer Andy Evans from Mad as Birds, who was also born in Wrexham, added, “The script and SJ’s vision for A LEAGUE APART drew us to the project without hesitation, and at its heart, we have a universal, feel-good story about love, friendship and community that will appeal to everyone. Our Best of British cast is coming together and we are looking forward to shooting the film in North Wales in 2021.”