Tom Brady Can Actually Act, 80 for Brady Proves

If Tom Brady wants to become a movie star in retirement, he’s off to a good start: the new movie 80 for Brady, which will arrive in theaters mere hours after his announcement this morning, features some surprisingly nuanced and convincing acting by one of the all-time greatest athletes.

After several scenes in which Brady says little or nothing, the film features a moving (mild spoilers) meeting between the quarterback and his biggest fan, a cancer survivor played by Lily Tomlin. Brady delivers a fairly long, emotional monologue that feels sincere and vulnerable, and isn’t played for cheap laughs. Brady shot it while training for this past NFL season.

“It’s not an easy thing to come onto a set to commit to a scene like,” director Kyle Marvin told MovieMaker. ” that as like, “Oh, this is the you know, yeah, “”It’s not like you come on and do a cameo and you can just be ridiculous. No, you’re gonna have to be super emotional. And say some heartfelt things to Lily Tomlin. … But he’s a professional and he took it seriously. And he tried to get ready for it, and committed to it in the moment, and I think did a great job.”

Anyone who’s seen an athlete host Saturday Night Live knows that mastery on the field doesn’t always translate to an ability to deliver lines. In 80 for Brady, the quarterback proves the exception. It took a few takes, of course. Marvin said the breakthrough came when he advised Brady to look closely at his scene partner, Lily Tomlin. He believes Brady also looked within: The film takes place in 2017, just after the time that Brady’s mother had completed chemotherapy.

“I think the thing that I said that I think helped him a lot was, ‘Just look Lily Tomlin in the eyes and say your lines. Like, just say what you’re saying, but say it to Lily Tomlin, in her eyes.’ She’s such a good acting partner. She’s such a giver when it comes to performance. I think as soon as that happened, and he started saying those things, I think he really tapped into some emotional stuff. I mean, his his mother had just finished battling cancer. …. I think he had a well to dip into and I think it sort of clicked for him and he he found it.”

Besides Tomlin, 80 for Brady stars Jane Fonda, Sally Field and Rita Moreno. It’s very loosely based on four real-life octogenarians who regularly gathered together to watch Tom Brady play, and was developed by Brady’s 199 Productions, Oscar winner Donna Gigliotti, and Endeavor Content. Film is just one of the avenues Brady may explore in the next chapter after his goodbye video.

Marvin, who got the job based partly on the success of his and partner Michael Covino’s Sundance success story The Climb, says the film features Brady only sporadically at first because he was so focused on this past football season. But everyone involved also agreed that the script should focus primarily on the women.

“If you heard the stories that I heard on set, these women’s life experience are insane. It’s crazy what they’ve been through,” he says. “And I think there’s something about the movie where it has a sort of smooth, even keel. And I think that organically came out of the truth to their existence, which is that you’ve got to take a kind of an even keel to it, and you have to just help each other through things.

“You get beat down, you lose, you have a terrible year and then you practice. You figure out what your strategy is. You move teams and then you start again. And that I think that’s the really admirable thing that Lily and Jane and Sally and Rita have all done. Because they’ve all had problems in their careers. They’ve all had ups and downs. And I think persistence and the ability to just say — ‘Alright, new game. We’re gonna get out there and we’re gonna try it again. We can win it’ — is what makes Tom Brady a legend. It’s why people call him the GOAT. It’s not because he had one good game, or because he’s the flashiest player around. The guy just keeps going and he keeps winning. And that, I think, is a lesson we can all take to heart.”

Our full interview with Kyle Marvin is coming soon.

80 for Brady arrives in theaters Friday.

Main image: Lily Tomlin and Tom Brady in 80 for Brady.