Cue up “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (also known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) and turn on the smoke machine. ESPN’s 30 For 30 is soon to take a ride on Space Mountain.
It’s been more than a year since the network announced that the award-winning sports documentary series would devote one of its films to legendary professional wrestler Ric Flair. The film is not yet finished, so a release date is not imminent. But ESPN revealed more details about the upcoming film to Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deitsch.
Directed by Rory Karpf, who made the I Hate Christian Laettner and The Book of Manning films in the 30 For 30 series, the documentary will be titled Nature Boy (Flair’s famed nickname). The film could be released in the spring or summer of 2017, but that is not yet confirmed. Nature Boy is expected to run 90 minutes with commercials.
According to Deitsch, Karpf is still doing interviews for the film, some of which will be with mainstream journalists (who don’t cover wrestling) and ESPN personalities who enjoy pro wrestling. The production still has footage yet to shoot with Flair.
To this point, Karpf and his team have interviewed 43 people, including Flair himself and his three Four Horseman cohorts, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard and Ole Anderson. Among the other wrestlers interviewed for the film are Ricky Steamboat, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Sting, The Undertaker and Mick Foley. (One former wrestler who Karpf has not been able to track down is Dwayne Johnson.) Additionally, Karpf and producers spoke to Flair’s three living children (Reid died in 2013), his first wife, renowned announcer Jim Ross and former WCW president Eric Bischoff.
Nature Boy will largely cover the prime of Flair’s career in the 1980s, when he was a dominant personality and multiple world champion in the NWA and WCW, which also coincided with wrestling’s entry into mainstream pop culture.