As any wrestling fan can tell you, André the Giant was larger than life, both literally and figuratively. His life story was the stuff of legend, and now that story will be making its way to the big screen.
Variety reports that producers Scott Steindorff and Dylan Russell have partnered with Lion Forge Comics to adapt André the Giant: Closer to Heaven to the big screen. That work is a graphic novel biography authorized by André’s daughter, Robin Christensen-Roussimoff, who has also assigned exclusive rights to make the film on her father’s life to the partners.
Born André René Roussimoff in Grenoble, France, André the Giant was diagnosed with gigantism at an early age which later developed into acromegaly, both caused him to grow into a 7′, 500 pound mountain of a man. . He started his wrestling career in the 1960s and gained popularity in the 1970s where his work in Japan and the then-WWF played up his size to make his character an immovable force of nature. The WWF even billed André as “The Eighth Wonder of The World” during his time with the organization.
André spent most of his career as a good guy, facing off against other big men such as Killer Khan, Big John Studd, and King Kong Bundy. In 1987, André turned against the super popular Hulk Hogan, starting a feud that culminated that year in a match at Wrestlemania 3 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. That event, propelled by the interest in the André vs Hogan match, set the record for the largest recorded attendance of a live indoor event in North America, a record that lasted until 2010.
André also got some work in Hollywood, starring in TV series such as The Six Million Dollar Man, B.J. and the Bear, and The Greatest American Hero. However, he is perhaps most well known for his role as Fezzik in The Princess Bride.
André the Giant died in 1993 after returning to France for funeral of his father. He was only 46.
That biography alone would make a fairly interesting biopic, but is only part of André’s legend. From his being driven to school as a youth by legendary playwright Samuel Beckett to his incredible generosity to his friends to his voracious appetites for alcohol and food, his legend extends far beyond the squared circle.
The one main problem with the production is finding an actor of the similar shape and size as André the Giant but who can act. It should be interesting to see if this causes problems for the production as it moves through development.