Brady Meets the Unsung Heroes of 80: Two Indie Filmmakers Without Studio Experience

Brady Meets the Unsung Heroes of 80: Two Indie Filmmakers Without Studio Experience ...

"80 for Brady" is a film about its octogenarian stars — Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, and Lily Tomlin — and Tom Brady's legacy, both of which drove the film to second place at the box office last weekend. The tale of four Brady-obsessed friends who travel to see him play the Super Bowl is charming, bittersweet, and a smart play by Paramount to capture the demographics of older women and NFL fans.

Kyle Marvin made his directorial debut in the 2019 Cannes film "The Climb," which was Covino's own directorial debut. In 2021, the pair rewrote "80 for Brady," and they now have executive producer credits.

They aren't part of Paramount's marketing strategy, after all. In its pandemic-afflicted 2020 theatrical release, "The Climb" made pretty much $1 million. And, if you've seen it, it makes "80 for Brady" even more curious.

The thought of putting a large project to the test, according to Marvin and Covino, was exactly what attracted them to the opportunity. "For us, the idea of bringing a large audience is part and parcel of what we as a company are attempting to do, which is support theatrical films," Marvin said.

"80 for Brady" isn't for everyone, according to Covino. "We sort of knew what the movie would be." "It's a movie for a certain demographic. You hear the title and concept and you're like, 'What the fuck is this?' Our goal was, like, to elevate it a little bit and make the best version of that movie."

It's also a case of a comeback. While "The Climb" got distribution from Sony Pictures Classics and established their unique comedy bfavorites, its theatrical release was thrown away by the epidemic in early 2020. In the meantime, Marvin and Covino left the commercial production company they had worked on low-budget movies for the previous decade to start a new venture, Watch This Ready, centered around their own directing projects.

"The Climb" is a term used to refer to the climb.


A development executive at Fifth Season (formerly Endeavor Content) suggested that Marvin take it on as his own directorial debut. “The next thing you know, we were rewriting the script, pitching it, and jumping into production a couple months later,” Covino said.

A senior vice president of Fifth Season said he found success with "Bookclub," which has a sequel planned for May.

The script attracted producer Donna Gigliotti, who studied football fandom with the "Silver Linings Playbook."

According to Slager, it wasn't a huge effort to get Brady himself on board. "The story of these women was our north star," Slager said. "He got that and it was the unexpected creative thing that really sparked for him."

Covino and Marvin reworked themes, jokes, and dialogue, while keeping some of the zanier interactions hidden in more elaborate gags. "We had to accept and own it somewhat," Covino said.

Covino and Marvin were not listed as writers but were instead given a "additional literary materials" credit, according to Marvin. "The feeling on that is kind of neutral."

Covino and Marvin had no experience with studio productions, yet they shot "80 for Brady" in 32 days without reshoots, and the result shows little compromise in terms of scope. Marvin relished the opportunity to push the budget's limits (a little over $30 million per sources, the usual studio comedy range). "It had to go away from our indie sensibilities," Marvin said.

The Super Bowl sequences, which consume the film's third act, recreated crowd scenes on a green screen, according to Marvin. "We knew everything before the shoot. We could incorporate that into our production."

Brady receives an 80-hour deal.

Paramount Pictures has released a documentary.

Covino spends days at the NFL Films office in New Jersey studying game footage to create various shots. "For the most part, it was pretty well visualized ahead of time, which enabled us to seamlessly integrate real-life events," Marvin said.

They also looked through YouTube videos and other game documentation to see who participated. That led them to notice Guy Fieri (who plays himself in a funny hot sauce competition featuring Fields' character), which the writers based on his barbecue event from the game.

Fieri ultimately achieved far more than his role in "80 for Brady," displaying an extended hallucination after the women overdosed on edibles at a pre-game celebration. "We were like, 'Let's write him in and see if we can get him — if not, we'll replace him with someone else," Marvin said.

Covino jumped on IMDb Pro and realized that he had the same agent as Tom Brady, according to the author. "So we knew we had a path through."

Marvin's acting career is on the upswing, as actors understand the craft for the first time. "They were watching me perform every weekend and then acting for me," Marvin said.

Covino was often on set and consulted with the actors in between performances, but the pair has no interest in being official co-directors on any of their projects (and would need DGA approval to do so).“We disagree on about 20 percent of things, and that’s enough to cause the plane to crash,” Marvin said.

In post-production, Kyle and I went into this one knowing that it will not be our film and it will never be our movie, according to Covino. "It's normal to try to navigate within that context."

The filmmakers favored a lot of single-camera long shots and lengthy scenes, some of which were too strange or slow for the studio. A more extended scene between Field and her character's needy husband (Bob Balaban) was also included late in the film; another casualty of cramming the narrative into a 98-minute runtime.

Tom Brady has scored a "80 for Brady."

Scott Garfield/Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Marvin shrugs off on the topic of studio-mandated cuts. "Sometimes you get home runs and sometimes you get travesties. There is wisdom within the studio system that meets their requirement, which is ultimately to make these films profitable to a broad audience."

Brady's retirement announcement caught everyone by surprise in February 2022, shortly before the film "80 for Brady" was released; he returned for the latest season, which ended up being his worst on record.

Brady's 199 Prods. were involved in the film, but the project's conception predated his involvement. Still, "the film doesn't really work without him attached," Marvin said. "That's the thesis of the film — the fans lift up the players and the players lift them up."

Marvin said he and Covino intend to keep juggling larger commercial projects with smaller projects, some of which they will produce for other filmmakers. "In the marketplace for film, we need films like this as much as we need prestige films or films that push the art form forward."

The film "80 for Brady" is now in theaters.