Taika Waititi never thought he’d make a sports film.

Taika Waititi isn't a sports fan

Taika Waititi isn't a sports fan

The 48-year-old filmmaker’s latest project, ‘Next Goal Wins’ tells the story of Michael Fassbender as Dutch-American coach Thomas Rongen as he looks to improve the results of the American Samoa national football team – ranked as one of the weakest teams on the planet – and he admitted he didn’t do a lot of research about soccer.

Discussing how he never thought he’d make a sports movie, he told Empire magazine: “Especially not about a sport that I’m not passionate about.

“I love watching the games, I just don’t follow any teams, I don’t care about who’s playing.

“My main thing was to represent the players and the people of the Pacific Islands more.

“Which is my roundabout way of explaining why I didn’t do research.”

Because of the poor form of the American Samoan team, Taika discouraged his cast from practicing their ball skills.

He said: “They’re bad football players who are not acting.

“A lot of the time when they’re trying to kick the ball in the net, that’s just them trying their hardest.”

But as the shoot went on, producers Mike Brett and Steve Jamison – who also made the 2014 documentary the film is based on and went on to coach the American Samoa side – did help the cast to improve their footwork over time, in a case of life imitating art.

Taika said: “They taught the actors where they’d be, how to kick the ball, where to kick it – they broke the whole thing down.

“It was really amazing.

“Oh my God, it’s too many layers.”