Finally! We're getting an André the Giant biopic. But the man was so much larger than life, who can actually play him on screen without the assistance of CGI? Perhaps Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is the only one who can do the legendary wrestler justice. As the two were friends. But this is something Lion Forge Comics and producers Scott Steindorff and Dylan Russell will have to struggle with in the months ahead as Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven moves towards production.
The movie will be based on the graphic novel biography published last year, which chronicled the amazing life of this extraordinary giant. Andre's daughter Robin Christensen-Roussimoff will serve as a consultant on the movie, after assigning the exclusive rights to the producers. Says Scott Steindorff about the project.
"Andre the Giant rode the wave of the rise of wrestling in America, while suffering from the painful health condition of gigantism - there's an Elephant Man story here."
Not only was Andre the Giant known for his iconic wrestling moves, he also played a key part in Rob Reiner's 1987 cult hit The Princess Bride. The man starred as the giant Fezzik in the fantasy comedy. He was one part of a bandit trio acting opposite Wallace Shawn and Mandy Patinkin. And it's likely that this part of his life will at least be partially chronicled in the movie.
Roussimoff began his career in professional wrestling at the young age of 17. He hailed from "Grenoble in the French Alps"and was billed as the 7-feet-4 giant who weighed over 500 pounds. Lion Forge CEO David Steward II had this to say about his company moving forward on Closer to Heaven.
"As a lifelong wrestling fan, I can say with conviction that no one was bigger than Andre. 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."
The graphic novel Closer to Heaven, written by Brandon Easton and illustrated by Denis Medri, was nominated for the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity and three Glyph Awards. It tracks Andre from his earliest days working on a farm in France to his rise in pro wrestling, which helped establish the WWE due to his own incredible popularity. The Superstar's daughter Robin had this to say about the impending movie.
"I'm really excited to watch this story come to life on the big screen. It's been a labor of love for everyone involved, and we're really looking forward to making it available to a larger audience."
It isn't known when Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven will hit the big screen. The next step is finding the right director and writer to bring this project together in the right way. One possible filmmaking candidate could be Rob Reiner who has an intimate knowledge of working with the man. But beyond The Rock, it's impossible to think of another working actor who could do this role justice. And in all likelihood, the role could end up going to a virtual unknown. But even then, no one denies that Andre the Giant was one of a kind, and will be nearly impossible to replicate.