Warner Bros. Pictures has released the first trailer for the upcoming sports drama The Way Back, and it looks kind of great. The film stars Ben Affleck as a former high school basketball star whose adult life spiraled downwards following a tragic loss, made worse by his alcoholism. But a spark ignites when he’s asked to coach the basketball team at his alma mater after their coach unexpectedly dies, and he struggles to find… the way back.
Despite the familiar premise, the trailer is pretty terrific. Gavin O’Connor, who helmed Affleck in the solid thriller The Accountant and also directed the critically acclaimed sports movie Warrior, is behind the helm of this one with a screenplay by Brad Ingelsby (Run All Night). O’Connor has previously flirted with directing the Suicide Squad sequel at WB, but departed when his story idea ended up being too similar to that of Birds of Prey, which took precedence.
As for Affleck, this could mark the beginning of a second comeback of sorts for the performer. While his Best Picture-winning film Argo put him back on the map and Gone Girl solidified his “newly relevant” resonance as leading man, his last couple of films—Live by Night, Justice League, and Triple Frontier—haven’t quite followed up on that success in the way some were hoping. But a well-made sports drama with themes that parallel the actor’s real life, showcasing a heartbreaking performance, sounds like a swell turn to me.
Check out the Way Back trailer below. The film also stars Al Madrigal, Michaela Watkins, Janina Gavankar, and Glynn Turman. The Way Back opens in theaters on March 6, 2020.
Here’s the official synopsis for The Way Back:
Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck) once had a life filled with promise. In high school, he was a basketball phenom with a full university scholarship, when suddenly, for reasons unknown, he walked away from the game, forfeiting his future. Now years later, Jack is spiraling down, triggered by an unspeakable loss, and drowning in the alcoholism that cost him his marriage and any hope for a better life.
When he is asked to coach the basketball team at his alma mater, which has fallen far since his glory days, he reluctantly accepts, surprising no one more than himself. As the boys start to come together as a team and win, Jack may have finally found a reason to confront the demons that have derailed him. But will it be enough to fill the void, heal the deep wounds of his past, and set him on the road to redemption?