Making a biopic of the late professional wrestler Chris Benoit’s life is no easy task. It’s an inspiring underdog story that takes a sharp right turn into a dark, crime-horror tale. Nonetheless, one director is more than willing to take on the job.
IGN is reporting that Lexi Alexander has agreed to take over the director’s chair on the Benoit biopic Crossface from Vicente Amorim, who was previously attached to direct the film. The biopic has been adapted by Jake Goldberger and Sarah Coulter from Matthew Randazzo V’s book Ring of Hell: The Story of Chris Benoit & the Fall of the Pro Wrestling Industry. Randazzo V will serve as Executive Producer.
Alexander is best know for directing Green Street Houligans and Punisher: War Zone. The latter was lambasted by critics and ignored by audiences, but I consider it the best representation of the character we have seen on the big screen. She has spent the last few years in television, directing episodes of Arrow, Supergirl and Limitless.
Chris Benoit rose from the small arenas in Canada to become a legend on the Japanese wrestling circuit. From there, he became one of the most respected technical wrestlers in America, using hard work and dedication to become a World Champion in more than one organization. The biopic’s title comes from his finishing move, a headlock called the “Crippler Crossface”, which can be seen to the right.
His legendary career, and his reputation as a decent human being, came to an end the weekend of June 22 to 25, 2007 when Benoit murdered his wife Nancy and his seven-year-old son Daniel before taking his own life. Speculation on why he committed the heinous acts range from alcoholism to steroid-fueled rage to serious brain damage brought on by years in the ring.
Obviously, finding the right tone for this film will be incredibly difficult. However, Alexander has experience directing a similar type of story. Her Oscar-Nominated short, Johnny Flynton, deal with a boxer who was prone to anger who accidentally kills his wife. While not exactly the same, there are some eerie similarities between the film and the Benoit case. The short film can be viewed in its entirety on Alexander’s website.