Aussie teen film kicks goals with underdog story
A NEW teen drama has an important message for young girls.
Back of the Net is the new film from the producers of Rip Tide. It follows an American exchange student, Cory, who accidentally boards a bus to a soccer academy, missing the departure of her semester at sea vessel.
The science nerd finds herself stuck with a bunch of athletes but eventually learns how to help the practice team combine their skills to become contenders in the national tournament.
"The biggest way I was able to relate to Cory was her feeling of being an outsider," says Sofia Wylie, who makes her feature film debut in the leading role.
"Everyone's been the new person or the outsider at some point, and her story arc is overcoming that and realising she's so much more than the science girl she thought she was. It's such an important message for girls they can be anything they want to be. You don't always have to be the best starting off. If you work hard you can be amazing."
Sofia, best known for her role in the Disney Channel series Andi Mack, jumped at the chance to film in Australia.
"When they sent the script over, I read it and I was so in love with it. It's such a positive and uplifting story, and I knew so many teens who would love it. Also the fact that it was going to be filmed in Australia I was like 'Yes, yes, yes'," she says.
"I'd visited Australia once before for work but I didn't have a lot of time. Being able to spend all the weekends just go exploring Sydney, going to the zoo and Bondi Beach was so gorgeous I didn't want to leave. I was convinced I was moving to Australia forever."
Sofia didn't need to go through a soccer bootcamp for the role, instead she had to pretend to be hopeless at the sport. The 15-year-old, who is also a dancer and singer, left most of the fancy footwork up to her co-stars.
"I'm not the best soccer player in the world but I've always thought of myself as a very active person," she says.
"There was a lot of falling I had to do. Falling on my butt was so fun to do. A lot of my other characters have been very athletic and capable, so I enjoyed playing a character that was so different."
She stars opposite rising Australian stars Tiarnie Coupland, Trae Robin, Gemma Chua-Tran, Yasmin Honeychurch and Ashleigh Ross.
"Even the people who were new (to acting) you would never have known. They were just pros. I was happily surprised by how comfortable everyone was in front of the camera," she says.
"We all keep in touch on a group chat. I was very lucky to share those experience with the cast. They are all so humble and talented."
Back of the Net opens tomorrow at select cinemas in Queensland and on April 18 in NSW.