Lacrosse fans and film lovers unite: Crooked Arrows, set to shoot this summer, sounds like a mainstream sports movie with heart, smarts and accuracy, telling the fresh story of a skilled Native American lacrosse athlete, Joe Logan, and his relationship to his reservation.

Brandon Routh (Superman) just signed to play lead–Routh happens to be part Kickapoo, according to PR rep. Steve Rash (Can’t Buy Me Love, Bring It On: In It to Win It, and he, too, part Native American, incidentally) will direct. Open auditions for team players (+ cameos and extras) are being held in lacrosse-leading states Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey–most recent casting stop happened in Baltimore on Memorial Day weekend. See website and Facebook for details.

Plot is family-friendly familiar, yet set on new territory. After college, Routh’s Logan seeks to modernize his reservation, by bringing in a casino. His dad, the tribal chairman, says, “Look, before you build a casino, rediscover your spirit.” Logan’s spiritual challenge? To coach the reservation’s rowdy lacrosse team. Once Joe finally gets the kids up to speed (playing like a team, thinking like a tribe), they go stick to stick against a fancy prep school and, we’re guessing, show the rich kids how the game’s done.

What we find especially engaging here is the nod to Native American heritage. In fact, modern day lacrosse is a variation of a series of games played by Native American communities. The Onondaga tagged the sport dehuntshigwa’es, meaning “men hit a rounded object,” while the Ojibwe word for the sport means “bump hips,” and the Eastern Cherokee, “little war.”

“We set out to an honest lacrosse story and, in the process, discovered that we needed to tell an honest Native American story, too, because Native Americans invented the game,” says producer Mitchell Peck (Priest).

Todd Baird dreamed concept and sold Peck, who played star lacrosse at Collegiate; script by Todd Baird and Brad Riddell. Todd Harris (The Kids are All Right) also producing. With Mark Ellis (Eight Men Out, Invictus, Bad News Bears) of Sport Studio directing athletics. Says PR: “Mark has directed every sports movie… They want to get the lacrosse accurate.” 

Rep also tells Fishbowl that Crooked Arrows crew intended to shoot all parts in Baltimore, but due to limited tax breaks available in Maryland for film production, they will work primarily in Boston. Peck says some shooting will occur on actual reservations in New York State.

Production aims to complete film and screen at the Maryland Film Festival by spring 2012. Because we’d like to catch it, we wish Crooked Arrows all the swift victory.