7 Days in Hell

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7 Days in Hell
Written byMurray Miller
Directed byJake Szymanski
Narrated byJon Hamm
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Executive producers
ProducerJonathan Buss
CinematographyCraig Kief
  • Dan Marks
  • Pat Bishop
Running time45 minutes
Original release
  • July 11, 2015 (2015-07-11)

7 Days in Hell is a sports mockumentary directed by Jake Szymanski and written by Murray Miller. The film premiered on July 11, 2015, on HBO[1] and July 8 on HBO Now.[2] The film was inspired by the Isner–Mahut marathon men's singles match at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships.[3]


The film is framed as a fictitious HBO Sports documentary incorporating BBC footage. It explores the backgrounds of the competitors Aaron Williams (Andy Samberg) and Charles Poole (Kit Harington), two professional tennis players who face off in what becomes the longest match in history.

Aaron Williams is considered "The Bad Boy of Tennis." He is an American orphan who was found on the streets and adopted by Richard Williams, who raised Aaron with his daughters, Venus and Serena Williams. At the 1996 Wimbledon Men's Singles Final, his serve hits a line judge, who has an immediate heart attack and dies. Williams falters and loses the match. At the ceremony following the match, Williams pushes Prince Edward (Howie Mandel), and disappears.

Charles Poole is a British child prodigy, forced into a tennis career by his domineering mother (Mary Steenburgen), who threatens to disown him if he loses. He appears on a sports talk show hosted by Caspian Wint (Michael Sheen) as a 15 year old and is on track to become the youngest professional tennis player in history. He tells Wint that he idolizes Aaron Williams.

Williams resurfaces in Sweden creating a male underwear line, but the line is discontinued when it is found to cause groin chafing and infertility. When Williams runs out of funds, he descends into pornography and an addiction to PCP. He is arrested, convicted, and is sent to a Swedish prison.

Two weeks before the 2001 Wimbledon Championships starts, Poole is asked by a reporter if he is a better player than Williams, he says yes. This comment reaches Williams, who escapes prison and becomes a free man, according to Swedish law.

Williams claims he will be playing in Wimbledon. The All-England Chair Committee, led by the Duke of Kent, refuses to let him play. Edward Pudding (Fred Armisen), also a member of the committee, believes that letting Williams play will spike interest for the tournament, and he suggests that Williams play an Englishman who is likely to beat him, which turns out to be Poole.

The night before the match, Poole receives a call from Queen Elizabeth II (June Squibb), who tells him to "win."

On the first day of the match, Poole wins the first set 6–0. Before the second set starts, a thunderstorm suspends play for the rest of the day.

On the second day, a revitalized Williams takes the second and third sets under the influence of cocaine. That night, Poole gets another call from the Queen. She drunkenly shouts expletives, accuses him of embarrassing England and bribes him with a knighthood if he wins.

On the third day, neither Williams and Poole are willing to surrender the match. After eight hours of intense tennis, the match is suspended.

On the fourth day, a female streaker (Lyssa Roberts) runs onto the court. Williams tries to subdue her, but ends up having sex with her. After they finish, a male streaker (Chris Romano) runs onto the court, with whom Williams also has sex. The female streaker runs back onto the court, and a threesome takes place until the match is suspended on account of darkness.

Before the fifth day, Williams arranges a press conference to announce he has located his birth father, British singer Engelbert Humperdinck. He claims he will dedicate his performance at Wimbledon to all Englishmen. After darkness again suspends the match, Poole is physically attacked in an elevator by the Queen.

Before the sixth day, Williams is hit by a truck, which is implied to be driven by Poole. Williams leaves the hospital and elects to play with one arm. In the 196th game, with Poole serving 98-97 and triple match point, illusionist David Copperfield magically appears on Poole's shoulders. Copperfield later claims he was supposed to appear on the Statue of Liberty. Poole, visibly distracted, fails to win the match in the sixth day.

Before the seventh day, Poole and Williams meet at a joint press conference. Williams reveals that a sex tape of himself and Poole's ex-girlfriend Lily has been leaked, enraging Poole. Poole attacks Williams and removes his wig, revealing Williams's bald scalp.

The two elect to settle their matters on the court. Queen Elizabeth makes an appearance at the match, and the two players challenge each other to fight. Although the judges try to separate them, the Queen orders that they be released and allowed to fight. Poole and Williams charge the net and kill each other after simultaneously hitting one another in the head with their rackets. The two are buried together in the same coffin. The documentary ends with video flashbacks of Poole and Williams praising each other.


Also appearing as themselves are David Copperfield, Chris Evert, Filip Hammar, Jim Lampley, John McEnroe, Soledad O’Brien, and Serena Williams. Archive footage of Dolph Lundgren is also used with different subtitles to relate to the film's subject matter.


The American premiere on HBO on July 11, 2015, was watched by 579,000 viewers.[4] In Australia, the telemovie premiered on August 8, 2015, on Showcase.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

The film holds an approval rating of 86% based on 37 critics, and an average score of 7.6/10 on Rotten Tomatoes.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bibel, Sara (22 June 2015). "'7 Days in Hell' Starring And Samberg & Kit Harington to Premiere Saturday, July 11 on HBO". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on 23 June 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  2. ^ "6 Must-Watch TV Shows and Movies Coming to HBO NOW in July 2015, from 'The Drop' to '7 Days in Hell'". 2 July 2015.
  3. ^ Schilling, Dave (10 July 2015). "Q&A: Andy Samberg Talks HBO's '7 Days in Hell,' Sports Documentaries, and Jon Snow". Grantland. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  4. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (14 July 2015). "SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 100 Saturday Cable Originals (& Network Update): 7.11.2015". ShowBuzzDaily. Archived from the original on 15 July 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  5. ^ Knox, David (15 July 2015). "Airdate: 7 Days in Hell". TV Tonight. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  6. ^ "7 Days in Hell". Rotten Tomatoes.

External links[edit]