Stephen Merchant set for Fighting with My Family
by Naman Ramachandran
- Bloom to sell wrestling comedy-drama at the EFM
Writer/director Stephen Merchant will commence principal photography at Los Angeles and London locations on Fighting with My Family, based on the true personal story of WWE Superstar Paige and her family of professional wrestlers, in February. The film is inspired by the Channel 4 British documentary The Wrestlers: Fighting With My Family. The film will follow a family who eke out a living performing in tiny venues across the country. When an opportunity to audition for the WWE arises, it seems that the family’s troubles will be solved, but they soon learn that while wrestling has always kept them together, it could now tear them apart.
Florence Pugh, who made a mark with William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth will play Paige, while Jack Lowden, whose breakout international screen role has been as Nikolai Rostov in the BBC miniseries War & Peace, will play her brother Zak.
The film is a co-production between Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Dany Garcia’s Seven Bucks Productions (US), Misher Films (US), WWE Studios (US), and Film4 (UK). Johnson will also play a cameo in the film.
Merchant is best known for co-creating globally successful television properties The Office and Extras. He made his feature directorial debut with Cemetery Junction [+see also:
film profile] (2010).
Merchant said, “When Dwayne sent me the documentary, I didn’t think I’d be interested in a story about wrestling. Until I realized this is not really about wrestling at all, it’s about a young woman, her family and their struggles – which are funny, sad, tough, tender and ultimately inspiring. And just happen to involve people in spandex throwing each other about. I love that it’s a true story about a working class girl who, against the odds, climbed to the very top of her unusual profession. And as with Rocky and boxing, even if you don’t like her sport, you’ll love her journey.”
Daniel Battsek, Director of Film4, added, “Fighting With My Family is a great example of that successful genre of uplifting British films about real people who’ve gone from being unlikely underdogs to triumphing against the odds. We are all excited at the commercial potential of this project and Stephen Merchant has the perfect comic sensibility to make this uniquely British story appeal to audiences worldwide.”
WME Global will look after US sales. US outfit Bloom will handle international rights and will represent the project at the European Film Market in Berlin. Bloom’s slate has several UK co-productions including S Craig Zahler’s Dragged Across Concrete (US/UK), Johannes Roberts’ The Strangers 2 (US/UK), and Michael Apted’s Unlocked (Czech Republic/US/Switzerland/UK).