Wrestling Dramedy FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY Teams Dwayne Johnson, Stephen Merchant, Film4 For Inspired British Doc Adaptation


Emmy, BAFTA and Golden Globe award winner Stephen Merchant of The Office and Hello Ladies fame is officially signed on to write, direct and executive produce upcoming dramedy, Fighting With My Family. WWE® Studios, whose president Michael Luisi is producing, is co-financing with Film4 as per Tuesday's press release.

The film is based on the true personal story of WWE Superstar PaigeTM and her family of professional wrestlers, as translated in the Channel 4 British documentary "The Wrestlers: Fighting With My Family". The story will revolve around a reformed gangster and former wrestler named Ricky, his wife Julia, who aspire for better lives for their children, Saraya and Zak. It's when both sibs set out to audition for the WWE that things seemingly take a toll for the better until their demanding careers ultimately begin to fervently test the bond that once held the family together.

Actress Florence Pugh has been cast for the role of WWE Superstar Paige with Jack Lowden as her brother, Zak, while Johnson himself is expected to appear in the film in some capacity. Joining Luisi is Kevin Misher of Misher Films producing while Merchant will be joined by Seven Bucks Productions' Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia as executive producers for production to commence 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 Luisi. "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 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."

Seven Bucks Productions is also behind a number of Johnson headliners, including Paramount's Baywatch which opens in May 26 and Sony's Jumanji with Kevin Hart on December 27. The studio also has New Line's DCU feature adaptation of Shazam which will serve as a twofer including Johnson's forthcoming Black Adam film as of last month, Universal's The Janson Directive, Legendary's Skyscraper and Brad Peyton's 2018 game adaptation, Rampage which recently cast Naomi Harris with Johnson.

Johnson will appear once again on the big screen with his ensemble cast in F. Gary Gray's The Fate Of The Furious on April 14. Merchant, also an actor and starred with Johnson in Tooth Fairy in 2010 and will co-star with actor Hugh Jackman in X-Men spin-off threequel, Logan on March 3.

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