LOS ANGELES, Feb. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Dwayne 'The Rock®' Johnson and Dany Garcia's Seven Bucks Productions, Misher Films, WWE® Studios, and Film4 are all teaming up to produce the upcoming feature film FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY, a comedy-drama written and directed by Stephen Merchant, based on the true personal story of WWE Superstar PaigeTM and her family of professional wrestlers.
The film is inspired by the Channel 4 British documentary The Wrestlers: Fighting With My Family and tells the story of reformed gangster and former wrestler Ricky, his wife Julia, daughter Saraya and son Zak who make a living performing in tiny venues across the country. Ricky and Julia want a better life for their children and when brother and sister get the chance to audition for WWE, it seems the family dream is coming true and all their troubles will be solved. However, Saraya and Zak are about to learn that becoming a WWE Superstar demands more than they ever imagined possible as athletes and siblings. Wrestling has always kept this family together -- but now it could tear them apart.
Stephen Merchant (The Office, Hello Ladies) has signed on to write, direct and executive produce the project.
Seven Bucks Productions' Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia will serve as executive producers. Kevin Misher of Misher Films will produce alongside WWE Studios President Michael Luisi. WWE Studios are co-financing the film with Film4, who have developed the project from its inception. Johnson will also play a role in the film, with rising star Florence Pugh who will play WWE Superstar Paige, and Jack Lowden who will play her brother, Zak. The film will start principal photography in Los Angeles and London this month.
"Back in 2012, I was in my hotel room in London and stumbled across a documentary on a local UK channel. Not only was I intrigued by this loving and wild family, but I also felt it's the kind of narrative that would make an amazing movie," shared Johnson. "The Knights' journey is a universal one that all families are familiar with. I relate to Saraya (Paige) and her wrestling family on such a personal level and it means so much that I can help tell their story."
"When Dwayne sent me the documentary, I didn't think I'd be interested in a story about wrestling," explains Merchant. "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."
"What an incredible opportunity for WWE Studios to partner with revered WWE® Superstar Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to bring the compelling, heartwarming and often hilarious family story of WWE Superstar Paige to audiences worldwide," said Michael Luisi, President of WWE Studios. "Stephen Merchant has such a keen creative eye and we are thrilled to be able to work with Daniel Battsek and his team at Film4, and Kevin Misher, to bring for the very first time the tale of one of our own to the big screen."
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. I am delighted to be collaborating with my old colleague Michael Luisi at WWE, as well as Kevin Misher and of course, Dwayne Johnson."
"Only Dwayne Johnson could watch a documentary about this warm, wild and wonderful family of British wrestlers and intuitively understand the bigger international appeal of this story, and only Stephen Merchant could create it," said Producer Kevin Misher. "It speaks volumes that Film4 and WWE Studios have come together to tell a story that will have as much appeal to the most ardent WWE fan as it will to someone who wouldn't know a Suplex from a Sleeper hold."
ABOUT SEVEN BUCKS PRODUCTIONS
Co-founded by Dwayne Johnson and producing partner Dany Garcia, Seven Bucks Productions is a multi-platform production company pioneering original content for television, film, emerging technologies, and digital networks. Crossing all entertainment verticals, Seven Bucks Productions creates innovative content rooted in authenticity, strong storytelling, and passion.
Seven Bucks Productions has an ever-expanding slate including tent-pole movies such as Paramount's Baywatch, Sony's Jumanji, New Line's Shazam, Universal's The Janson Directive and Legendary's Skyscraper. The company also produces original television programming including HBO's "Ballers," Spike TV's "Rock the Troops," CNN's "Soundtracks" and HBO Documentary Films "Rock and a Hard Place."
ABOUT STEPHEN MERCHANT
Emmy, BAFTA and Golden Globe award winner Stephen Merchant was most recently the co-creator, star, writer, executive producer and director of HBO's Hello Ladies, a sitcom based on his stand-up comedy show of the same name. The series ended with a one-hour special, which received two nominations at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards.
Merchant is perhaps best known for his work as co-creator, co-writer and co-director (alongside Ricky Gervais) of BBC's critically acclaimed The Office and Extras, which earned Merchant three BAFTA Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award and a Peabody Award, among others.
Merchant also served as an executive producer on the long-running US adaptation of The Office, which received five Primetime Emmy Awards and 42 nominations during its run on NBC.
In 2010, he directed his first feature film alongside Gervais, a 1970s-set drama titled Cemetery Junction.
As an actor, Merchant previously appeared alongside Dwayne Johnson in Tooth Fairy and will be seen next as Caliban in Logan, the highly-anticipated Wolverine sequel set for release this March. Merchant will also star opposite Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, and Craig Robinson in the forthcoming indie comedy Table 19.
ABOUT MISHER FILMS
After helping to build four of Universal's most successful franchises (Fast and Furious, The Mummy, The Bourne Identity and Meet the Parents), Kevin Misher formed his eponymous company in 2001.
He has produced the hit follow up to The Mummy franchise, The Scorpion King with Dwayne Johnson, as well as The Rundown, also starring Dwayne Johnson and directed by Peter Berg, The Interpreter, directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn, Public Enemies, directed by Michael Mann, starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, Fighting starring Channing Tatum, Mirror Mirror starring Julia Roberts, and the remake of Steven King's classic horror tale, Carrie starring Julianne Moore and Chloe Moretz.
Misher is currently working on the drama Richard Jewell starring Jonah Hill to be directed by Ezra Edelman (O.J.: Made in America) for 20th Century Fox.
ABOUT WWE STUDIOS
WWE Studios develops and produces feature films, as well as television and digital content. Its diverse slate is released theatrically, direct to home, and/or across digital platforms, and is co-produced & distributed through partnerships with premier global entertainment companies. WWE's film division, led by President Michael Luisi, is headquartered in Santa Monica, CA.
WWE Studios recently launched genre label EREBUS PICTURES with KISS Icon Gene Simmons; with the first film being Temple starring Wesley Snipes, Anne Heche, Dave Annable and WWE Superstar Seth Rollins®. Films from WWE Studios include The Call with Halle Berry and WWE Superstar David Otunga®, Oculus directed by Mike Flanagan starring Karen Gillan and Katee Sackhoff, Dead Man Down with Colin Farrell and WWE Superstar Wade Barrett®, Incarnate starring Aaron Eckhart and featuring WWE Superstar Mark Henry®, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone starring Brett Dalton, Anjelah Johnson-Reyes and WWE Legend Shawn Michaels®; and animated films, Surf's Up 2: WaveMania, Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery, Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Speed Demon and The Flintstones Stone Age Smackdown.
Upcoming films from WWE Studios include The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania with WWE Superstars Big Show®, Alicia Fox™, Roman Reigns®, Seth Rollins® and Sheamus®, the Sundance film Sleight starring Jacob Latimore, Dulé Hill and Seychelle Gabriel, Killing Hasselhoff starring Ken Jeong and David Hasselhoff, and Brother's Blood starring Trey Songz and WWE Superstar R-Truth®.
WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming reaches more than 650 million homes worldwide in 35 languages. WWE Network, the first-ever 24/7 over-the-top premium network that includes all live pay-per-views, scheduled programming and a massive video-on-demand library, is currently available in more than 180 countries. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Munich and Tokyo.
Film4 is Channel 4 Television's feature film division. Film4 develops and co-finances films and is known for working with the most distinctive and innovative talent in UK and international filmmaking, whether new or established.
Film4 has developed and co-financed many of the most successful UK films of recent years, Academy Award®-winners such as Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave, Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire, Lenny Abrahamson's Room, Alex Garland's Ex Machina, Asif Kapadia's box office record breaking documentary Amy and Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady, in addition to critically-acclaimed award-winners such as Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner, Chris Morris's Four Lions, Shane Meadows' This is England, Clio Barnard's The Selfish Giant, Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin and David Mackenzie's Starred Up.
Film4's recent releases include Danny Boyle's T2 Trainspotting, Andrea Arnold's American Honey, Ben Wheatley's High-Rise, Susanna White's Our Kind of Traitor, Todd Haynes' Carol, Sarah Gavron's Suffragette, Yorgos Lanthimos's The Lobster and Andrew Haigh's 45 Years. Forthcoming releases include Ang Lee's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Ben Wheatley's Free Fire, Benedict Andrews' Una, Adam Smith's Trespass Against Us and Baltasar Kormákur's The Oath. Films in production include Clio Barnard's Dark River, Andrew Haigh's Lean on Pete, Yorgos Lanthimos's The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Michael Pearce's Beast, Lynne Ramsay's You Were Never Really Here, Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Paddy Considine's Journeyman, John Cameron Mitchell's How To Talk To Girls At Parties, Toby MacDonald's Old Boys, Rungano Nyoni's I Am Not a Witch, Sebastián Lelio's Disobedience, Garth Davis's Mary Magdalene, and Asif Kapadia's Maradona. Forthcoming productions include Yorgos Lanthimos's The Favourite, Bart Layton's American Animals and Mike Leigh's Peterloo.
Trademarks: All WWE programming, talent names, images, likenesses, slogans, wrestling moves, trademarks, logos and copyrights are the exclusive property of WWE and its subsidiaries. All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.
Forward-Looking Statements: This press release contains forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, risks relating to: WWE Network; major distribution agreements; our need to continue to develop creative and entertaining programs and events; the possibility of a decline in the popularity of our brand of sports entertainment; the continued importance of key performers and the services of Vincent K. McMahon; possible adverse changes in the regulatory atmosphere and related private sector initiatives; the highly competitive, rapidly changing and increasingly fragmented nature of the markets in which we operate and greater financial resources or marketplace presence of many of our competitors; uncertainties associated with international markets; our difficulty or inability to promote and conduct our live events and/or other businesses if we do not comply with applicable regulations; our dependence on our intellectual property rights, our need to protect those rights, and the risks of our infringement of others' intellectual property rights; the complexity of our rights agreements across distribution mechanisms and geographical areas; potential substantial liability in the event of accidents or injuries occurring during our physically demanding events including, without limitation, claims relating to CTE; large public events as well as travel to and from such events; our feature film business, including anticipated release, marketing or involved talent for upcoming titles and productions; our expansion into new or complementary businesses and/or strategic investments; our computer systems and online operations; privacy norms and regulations; a possible decline in general economic conditions and disruption in financial markets; our accounts receivable; our revolving credit facility; litigation; our potential failure to meet market expectations for our financial performance, which could adversely affect our stock; Vincent K. McMahon exercises control over our affairs, and his interests may conflict with the holders of our Class A common stock; a substantial number of shares are eligible for sale by the McMahons and the sale, or the perception of possible sales, of those shares could lower our stock price; and the relatively small public "float" of our Class A common stock. In addition, our dividend is dependent on a number of factors, including, among other things, our liquidity and historical and projected cash flow, strategic plan (including alternative uses of capital), our financial results and condition, contractual and legal restrictions on the payment of dividends (including under our revolving credit facility), general economic and competitive conditions and such other factors as our Board of Directors may consider relevant. Forward-looking statements made by the Company speak only as of the date made and are subject to change without any obligation on the part of the Company to update or revise them. Undue reliance should not be placed on these statements. For more information about risks and uncertainties associated with the Company's business, please refer to the "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and "Risk Factors" sections of the Company's SEC filings, including, but not limited to, our annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q.
SOURCE Seven Bucks Productions