Biopics are as popular as they’ve ever been among movie studios. Typically, the preferred subject is a musician, as we’ve seen in recent months with N.W.A. (Straight Outta Compton), Brian Wilson (Love and Mercy) and Miles Davis (Miles Ahead). But one of the most popular and iconic professional wrestlers of all time is finally going to get the big-screen treatment.
As reported by Variety‘s Dave McNary, a movie about Andre the Giant is now in development. The project is being produced by Lion Forge Comics and Stone Village Productions, and will be based on the graphic novel Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven, written by Brandon Easton and illustrated by Denis Medri.
Released in November 2015, Closer to Heaven details Andre Roussimoff’s life from his beginnings growing up on a farm in France to his entry into professional wrestling and eventual rise into a 7-foot-4, 500-pound international icon for the World Wrestling Federation who also eventually starred in movies such as The Princess Bride. During his wrestling career, Andre the Giant won the WWF Heavyweight Championship in addition to a Tag Team title. He was an inaugural member of the WWF Hall of Fame in 1993, shortly after his death.
The wrestler’s daughter, Robin Christensen-Roussimoff, will be a consultant on the film and granted the rights for the biography to producers. Christensen-Roussimoff also initially assigned the rights to her father’s life story to Lions Forge for the graphic novel, which was distributed by IDW Publishing.
“As a lifelong wrestling fan, I can say with conviction that no one was bigger than Andre,” Lion Forge CEO David Steward II told Variety. “His presence and charisma were so powerful, and you could tell there was much more to him under the surface of his ring persona. It’s been an amazing experience telling that story in the book with Robin’s help. With all the spectacle, action, and emotion there on the page, a feature film just made perfect sense.”
At such an early stage, no writers or directors have yet been attached to the film. Thus, it’s also difficult to project any sort of timetable for the production. At the very least, producers would appear to have a daunting casting call ahead in trying to find an actor capable of playing Andre the Giant. Those are literally huge boots to fill.
CinemaBlend’s Mike Reyes suggests Robert Maillet, a former pro wrestler (and French Canadian) who has played hulking adversaries in films such as 300 and Sherlock Holmes. But even at 6-foot-4 6-foot-10, Maillet still doesn’t quite measure up. Camera angles can surely help with that, of course. Perhaps digital effects will come into play, as well, but likely won’t be a huge factor for what appears to be a smaller film production. (Producers Scott Steindorff and Dylan Russell have previously worked on films such as Chef, Jane Got a Gun and The Lincoln Lawyer.)
Roussimoff’s great size was due to gigantism and acromegaly, with his body producing an excessive amount of growth hormone. Andre the Giant passed away in 1993 at the age of 46 due to congestive heart failure.
An Andre the Giant documentary has also been rumored over the past year. But a supposed HBO production spearheaded by Bill Simmons was indeed just a rumor with no validity to it. It appears that the wrestling legend’s story will get the feature-film treatment first.