EXCLUSIVE: The story of pro wrestling impresario Vince McMahon is getting the Hollywood treatment with Pandemonium, a drama that will be directed by John Requa & Glenn Ficarra from a script by Craig A. Williams. The film is landing at Sony Pictures’ TriStar, with Andrew Lazar producing with WWE Studios president Michael Luisi and Adam Goldworm. Hannah Minghella and Nicole Brown will oversee for TriStar.
The film covers McMahon’s ascension in the wrestling business, and having WWE Studios involved indicates the project has the blessing of the grappling magnate. He is third generation — the business was started by his grandfather Jess and taken over by his father Vincent — but these were local circuits and relatively small time compared to what Vince McMahon had in mind. The barrel-chested showman turned the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) into a global roadshow business juggernaut. He unleashed grapplers from Hulk Hogan to Bruno Sammartino and Triple H to budding actor John Cena and The Rock, aka Dwayne Johnson, Hollywood’s reigning action star. McMahon built his ring empire in Stamford, CT, and McMahon, who long had dreams of being a wrestling star, realized that dream as well and became WWF champ in 1999, as well as the ECW champion and winner of the 1999 Royal Rumble.
Screenwriter Williams previously wrote Underdog, and Requa & Ficarra’ directorial tag teams include Crazy, Stupid, Love; Focus, and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. They also are exec producers of This Is Us and Patriot.
Exec producing Pandomium is Charlie Gogolak. Making a straight wrestling-related film is kind of a departure for WWE Studios, which has made and promoted many action films featuring WWE ring stars. Its first ring effort came with Fighting With My Family. The MGM comedy-drama is being written and directed by Stephen Merchant (The Office) based on the true story of WWE star Paige and her family of professional wrestlers. Dwayne Johnson is the catalyst for this one, with the film produced by Seven Bucks Productions, which Johnson co-founded with Dany Garcia, Misher Films, WWE Studios and Film4. Game of Thrones star Lena Headey and Nick Frost will be part of the cast. Williams is repped by UTA and Aperture; Requa & Ficarra by CAA.