By Rebecca Ford, Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter
The studio is in negotiations for the highly sought-after Pandemonium, which has Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who direct and executive produce the hit television drama This Is Us, in talks to direct. Craig A. Williams wrote the script, and Andrew Lazar, who produced American Sniper, is producing the project along with Michael Luisi, president of WWE Studios, and Adam Goldworm of Aperture Entertainment. Charlie Gogolak of Zaftig Films will executive produce.
Pandemonium first hit the Hollywood mat last summer but studios hesitated. While the script scored high points, WWE and McMahon had not blessed it and companies didn’t want to antagonize a powerful entity. When Lazar secured McMahon’s life rights, the package in recent weeks made the rounds again and studios were ready to rumble. Multiple parties were interested but sources say that TriStar went all out in their pitch (even decorating their offices with WWE regalia). Hannah Minghella and Nicole Brown will oversee for TriStar.
McMahon, known for his iconic showmanship, created the national sensation and obsession that is known as World Wrestling Entertainment, a.k.a. WWE.
After being raised by his mother and a series of stepfathers in North Carolina, McMahon first got into wrestling through his father Vincent J. McMahon, who was a promoter for Capitol Wrestling Corporation. He shadowed his father (whom he didn’t meet until he was 12 years old) when he was a teen and, after college, he made his debut as an in-ring announcer in 1969 working for his father’s World Wide Wrestling Federation (later called World Wrestling Federation) promotion. He spent years as a very successful promoter and commentator for TV matches.
He founded his own company, Titan Sports, in 1979, and soon after acquired his father’s company (which was later renamed WWE due to a trademark dispute). He ruffled feathers in the industry by starting to promote his company nationally at a time when wrestling organizations were regional and worked under an understanding that they would not invade each other’s territories.
He focused on making the company’s wrestlers big stars and celebrities in their own right — from Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and making wrestling a family audience event. By adding such pop music stars as Cyndi Lauper into wrestling storylines, McMahon further expanded the company from a regional entity to a national sensation.
In 1985, he ran the first annual WrestleMania, the WWE’s equivalent of the Super Bowl, at Madison Square Garden. He has also appeared on WWE TV, and occasionally competed as a wrestler, under the ring name Mr. McMahon, who had a legendary feud with Austin and faced off against many of the great names of wrestling. At WrestleMania 23 in 2007, an on-screen feud between McMahon and now-President Donald Trump culminated in a Hair vs. Hair “Battle of the Billionaires,” a match between two wrestlers who each represented one of the men. Trump’s popular wrestler won, leading Trump, his wrestler, and special guest referee Austin to shave McMahon bald.
Ficarra and Requa also previously directed and wrote 2011’s Crazy, Stupid, Love and 2009’s I Love You Phillip Morris. They also executive produce and direct NBC’s hit show This Is Us. They are repped by CAA and McKuin Frankel.
Williams previously wrote the script for 2007’s Underdog. He is repped by UTA and Aperture Entertainment. UTA also repped the project.
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