HBO debuts the trailer for Andre the Giant, a documentary about the same-named legendary pro wrestler. In recent years, professional wrestling has started to achieve a level of mainstream media integration comparable to what it enjoyed during its boom periods in the mid-1980s and late 1990s. As former wrestling champions Dwayne Johnson and John Cena continue to star in several movies each year, ESPN has begun interviewing WWE wrestlers on SportsCenter and other shows, something absolutely unthinkable until a couple of years ago.
ESPN earlier this month aired The Nature Boy, a documentary about legendary pro wrestler Ric Flair, the first of nearly 100 docs in the 30 for 30 series to deal with wrestling, following a doc a few months earlier about the ill-fated, WWE-backed XFL football league. And now, one of the creators of 30 for 30 is planning another documentary about a different giant of the wrestling world - this time, a literal one.
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HBO has officially announced that Andre the Giant, a documentary telling the life story of the late wrestler of the same name, will air in April 2018. The film is being produced by Bill Simmons, the famed sportswriter who during his tenure with ESPN created 30 for 30, in association with WWE and The Ringer, Simmons’ sports and pop culture website, with Jason Hehir, the director of several 30 for 30 installments, listed as the director. They also released a teaser [above].
Andre, whose real name was Andre Roussimoff, was a Frenchman who was one of wrestling’s leading attractions in the 1970s and ‘80s, a man whose sheer size (billed at the possibly exaggerated numbers of 7’4” and over 500 pounds) was a spectacle in and of itself. Andre’s bouts with Hulk Hogan were the stuff of legend, as were the stories of his prodigious drinking, and Andre gained another measure of fame when he appeared as “gentle giant” Fezzik in 1987’s The Princess Bride.
Simmons has spoken for years, on his podcast and elsewhere, of his desire to make an Andre documentary, and that it was one of the subjects he never got to tackle with a 30 for 30. And the WWE partnership presumably means the documentary will have access to all important footage from wrestling history, nearly all of which WWE controls. Listed participants in the doc include WWE head Vince McMahon, Princess Bride director Rob Reiner, and members of Andre’s family.
With Simmons’ HBO talk show, Any Given Wednesday having lasted for just four months, Andre will represent a huge test of the former Boston Sports Guy’s dreams of being a Hollywood player.
Andre the Giant airs in April 2018 on HBO.
Source: HBO, The Ringer