Chris Hemsworth has signed on to play wrestling legend Hulk Hogan in a biopic directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover). Michael Sugar (Spotlight) will produce alongside Bradley Cooper under the duo’s Joint Effort banner. The film is being developed for Netflix.
For those unfamiliar, Hogan was a wrestling star in the 1980s and beyond, almost single-handedly bringing professional wrestling into the mainstream consciousness. He made the WWF, and then WCW, household names. However, in recent years he’s perhaps more well known for a racial slur scandal and a leaked sex tape that eventually led to the demise of Gawker.
THR notes that the biopic will not touch on the latter day Hulkster, and will instead be an origin story of Hulkamania. This is no surprise when you read on and discover that Hogan himself will be a consultant on the film, as will his longtime friend and former boss, Eric Bischoff.
This is disappointing, and similar to Bohemian Rhapsody, will likely lead to a neutered, formulaic biopic. That film had the input of the surviving Queen members, and painted them as the smart, responsible members of the group, with Freddie Mercury as the outlandish one hurting the band.
Hogan (real name Terry Bollea) is known in the wrestling business as warping the line between his real life and his character. He frequently played backstage politics to keep himself on top and doesn’t have the best reputation among fellow wrestlers. His racist tirade got him omitted from WWE programming and he was briefly removed from their Hall Of Fame as well.
A warts-and-all Hogan biopic would have been fascinating, but it looks as if we’ll be settling for the sugarcoated version. Having Phillips on board, who is also directing the Joaquin Phoenix-led Joker movie this year, is probably a good choice for a biopic that will probably have a solid amount of outrageousness in it.
Hemsworth is always good, and should fit this role perfectly. Though how he’ll look in a bald cap and a bleach blonde handlebar moustache is another question.