Bill Simmons's first HBO documentary will focus on André the Giant
After years of rumors, André the Giant is finally getting his documentary close-up.
On Monday HBO announced it has commissioned a film on the legendary professional wrestler, which will be co-produced by HBO Sports, the WWE and the Bill Simmons Media Group. It’s the first partnership between HBO and the WWE on a project. The doc also represents the first HBO project for Simmons since his show, Any Given Wednesday, was canceled in November. There is no release date for the film at this time.
HBO said that Emmy Award-winning director and producer Jason Hehir will direct. The documentary will include interviews with WWE athletes, sports and entertainment executives, athletes, media, family, friends and associates.
In a statement, Simmons said, “Going back to 2007 and 2008 when I was creating and developing 30 for 30 for ESPN, André’s story rode the top of every single sports documentary wish list I ever made. We always hear about unicorns these days—André was the ultimate unicorn. He’s a true legend. Everyone who ever crossed paths with him has an André story—and usually four or five.”
Born as André René Roussimoff in 1946 in Coulommiers, France, André became a headline wrestler for Vince McMahon Sr.’s World Wrestling Entertainment in 1973. Throughout the 1980s the reported 7' 4" and 505-pound wrestler battled some of the WWE’s most famous performers, and in 1987 he and Hulk Hogan headlined WrestleMania III at the Silverdome in Michigan, one of the most memorable moments in sports entertainment history. Sports Illustrated profiled Roussimoff in a 1981 piece penned by Olympic power-lifter Terry Todd
Away from wrestling, Roussimoff appeared as Fezzik in Rob Reiner’s 1987 film The Princess Bride. He also lived on a 200-acre ranch in Ellerbe, North Carolina, where he raised quarter horses and longhorn cattle. He died on Jan. 27, 1993, in Paris, apparently of a heart attack. He was 46, and left behind a lifetime of memories for wrestling fans.