Chris Hemsworth's Hulk Hogan Netflix film can make the Hulkster cool again. The untitled project will be directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover) and written by Scott Silver, who also penned Phillips' Joker. Crucially, Hulk Hogan is a consultant on his biopic, which is also being produced by his longtime pro-wrestling partner Eric Bischoff.
With Hemsworth portraying Hulk Hogan and A-list talent producing the project, this means that the Hulkster is poised to receive some sorely needed image rehab. In the 1980s, Hogan was the biggest pro-wrestling star in the world and one of the most recognizable names in pop culture. As World Wrestling Federation Champion (WWF, before the promotion rebranded as WWE), Hogan was the first pro-wrestler to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated, he hosted Saturday Night Live, and he starred in a Saturday morning cartoon, Hulk Hogan's Rock & Wrestling. In the 1990s, Hogan re-invented himself as the villainous "Hollywood" Hogan and ruled the WWF's rival promotion, World Championship Wrestling (WCW), before heroically returning to WWE in 2002 and reclaiming the WWE Championship.
But things took a turn for the worse for Hogan this past decade. And that's where Thor can really save the day.
Hulk Hogan's Last Decade Has Been Embroiled In Scandal
In recent years, Hulk Hogan's legacy and reputation were damaged by scandals. In 2012, Gawker released a sex tape of Hogan online, leading to a successful $100-million defamation lawsuit that sent Gawker Media into bankruptcy in 2016 (Hulk Hogan v Gawker is also being made into a movie). However, Hogan created a new scandal due to racist comments he made in the sex tape. This resulted in WWE terminating their contract with Hogan in 2015, which included removing him from the WWE Hall of Fame and wiping any reference to Hogan from their website. In mid-2018, Hogan returned to WWE and made a series of apologies, but the damage to his image lingers.
However, biopics are currently hot and so is pro-wrestling; Bohemian Rhapsody, with Rami Malek playing Freddie Mercury, is up for multiple Oscars and Fighting With My Family, starring Florence Pugh as WWE's Paige and produced by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, earned critical raves. Netflix has also found success with GLOW, its 1980s-set all-women pro-wrestling comedy series, which is soon to be on season 3. Hulk Hogan is hoping to ride this wave back into the public's good graces with an equally successful biopic - and it could work.
The Movie Will Deal With Hulk Hogan's Best Era
Netflix's Hulk Hogan movie will reportedly be about Terry Bollea's rise in the late 1970s/early 1980s to become the superheroic wrestling champion, which is very a smart move. Hogan's early years are fascinating and he crossed paths with big stars of the era: Bollea, who originally wrestled as "Terry Boulder", got the nickname "Hulk" after meeting Lou Ferrigno, the star of TV's The Incredible Hulk, on a radio show (the host realized Hogan was bigger than the man who played the Marvel superhero); he was hand-picked by Sylvester Stallone to fight Rocky Balboa as wrestling champion "Thunderlips" in Rocky III; and, of course, Hogan faced Andre the Giant in Shea Stadium in 1980 - seven years before they main evented WrestleMania III in front of 93,173 the Pontiac Silverdome.
Vince McMahon eventually chose Hulk Hogan to be his star as he expanded the WWF into a global promotion, although the film will reportedly end with the Hulkster defeating the Iron Sheik for his first WWF Championship on January 23, 1984. This does mean that many fan-favorite moments that came after - Hogan and Mr. T headlining WrestleMania in 1985 and the Hulkster's legendary rivalry with the "Macho Man" Randy Savage - won't be seen, but there's no denying Hogan's rise to fame is an inspirational rags-to-riches story and ending with the birth of "Hulkamania" will surely remind longtime fans that the Hulkster was their childhood hero.
Chris Hemsworth Is An Inspired Choice To Play Hulk Hogan
Above all, though, Hulk Hogan could not ask for a better actor to play him than Chris Hemsworth. An A-list star beloved worldwide as Marvel's Thor, Hemsworth is already accustomed to playing a larger-than-life superhero. To properly embody the Hulkster, the Australian actor will need even more than the 20 lbs of muscle he usually puts on to play the God of Thunder, but Hemsworth certainly shares the wrestler's innate charisma. In a way, Thor's gladiatorial combat against Marvel's Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok set the stage for Hemsworth's leap to portraying the WWE Champion. Hemsworth is also naturally funny and has proved he's adept at comedy; he was a hilarious scene-stealer in Paul Feig's Ghostbusters and will once again draw laughs in Men In Black International.
If Todd Phillips' movie successfully taps into the outrageous true-life aspects of Hogan's rise to fame, and with Hemsworth sporting the Hulkster's signature facial hair and tearing off his yellow and red T-shirt, it would only right to ask "Whatcha gonna do when Hulk Hogan becomes cool again, brother?"