Thanks to TV series like Netflix’s Making a Murderer and FX’s The People vs. O.J. Simpson, both fictional and nonfiction takes on true crime cases are experiencing a resurgence in popular interest not seen in years. A new entry set to enter the ring is Crossface, a biopic focusing on the life and death of deceased pro wrestler Chris Benoit. An over 20-year veteran of the industry, Benoit hit the highest heights of his chosen profession later than most, capturing his first WWE World Championship in 2004 at the age of 36. This victory occurred on the biggest stage possible, WWE’s WrestleMania XX event at NYC’s Madison Square Garden.
Three years later in the summer of 2007, Benoit was discovered dead at his Georgia home, along with his wife – and former on-screen manager – Nancy and his 7-year-old son Daniel. Sadly, this was ultimately confirmed to be the result of a double murder/suicide, with Benoit killing his wife, son, and himself over the course of a weekend. The grisly deaths quickly became a national news story, with evidence suggesting that years of in-ring head injuries had played a factor in Benoit’s horrific actions.
News of Crossface’s development first surfaced in 2013, with erroneous reports initially stating that Ray Donovan star Liev Schreiber was attached to play Benoit. Following Schreiber’s denial of those reports, news on Crossface has been nearly nonexistent since. However, according to The Wrap, the project is finally set to move forward, complete with a director already on board. Lexi Alexander (Punisher: War Zone) has signed on to helm the sure to be controversial film, the script for which was based on Matthew Randazzo’s 2008 book Ring of Hell: The Story of Chris Benoit & the Fall of the Pro Wrestling Industry.
Since directing War Zone, Alexander has gone on to helm episodes of shows like Arrow, Supergirl, and Limitless. She is also a former World Karate and Kickboxing Champion, seemingly making her a perfect fit to direct a biopic of a fellow combat sport athlete, albeit one whose victories were predetermined. For those not versed in Benoit’s wrestling career, the name Crossface is a shortening of Crippler Crossface, the name of his trademark submission finishing hold. Benoit acquired the nickname The Crippler, after accidentally breaking another competitor’s neck in the ring, but doing it in a way that the booking staff was able to play off on TV as having been intentional.
Alexander has certainly picked an interesting project for her return to the world of feature films, as even today, opinions on Benoit run the gamut from him simply being a cold-blooded monster to the belief that the brain damage sustained during his wrestling career ultimately rendered him incapable of controlling himself when sent into a fit of a rage. No matter how Alexander presents Benoit as a man in Crossface, there will be a group of people who take severe issue with the portrayal, especially if the film doesn’t take a black and white view of Benoit’s horrific final days. With a director now in place, it’ll be very interesting to see what actor agrees to take on such a complex role.
Crossface has yet to enter production, and has no current release date.
Source: The Wrap