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Friday, September 9, 2016

Badass Feminist Filmmaker Lexi Alexander Will Take On "The Dark Side of Pro Wrestling" in a New Movie

Academy Award-nominated director Lexi Alexander, a huge supporter of our "Cinema in Noir" podcast, has just signed on to direct a new film based on the life of late wrestler Chris Benoit. I'll admit, I've never seen a single wrestling match ever in life, and I am mainly interested in the fact that Alexander will be at the helm (not only is she unafraid to be vocal about racial and political injustice in Hollywood, but she has managed to evade the stereotypical films Hollywood consistently throws at women filmmakers). CROSSFACE looks to be yet another fist clenching project to add onto her list of credits, which already include Supergirl, Arrow, and Punisher: War Zone

As a non-wrestling fan, I had to look up Benoit's story online, and my, what a narrative it is: Professional prestige, fame, and murder. I'm curious to see how Alexander will tackle the themes in this movie, which I'm sure folks will want to compare to Foxcatcher. But I have a feeling she'll be able to highlight more of the nuance and vulnerability of Benoit's story. Benoit's story may also remind folks of the Will Smith movie, Concussion, which suggests that repeated blows to the head in aggressive sports can lead to concussion and brain damage (which reportedly caused Benoit to commit double-murder homicide). 

Here's a little more about the movie:
Based on the book, "Ring of Hell: The Story of Chris Benoit & the Fall of the Pro Wrestling Industry" by Matthew Randazzo V, “Crossface” will tell the story of WWE superstar Chris Benoit as he struggles to maintain his family life, while the pressures of wrestling cause him to spiral out of control. Benoit was a well respected, world champion wrestler, who, over the course of a weekend in June 2007, murdered his wife and son before taking his own life. It was later discovered that Benoit was posthumously diagnosed with CTE, severe brain degeneration, believed to be associated with his career as a wrestler.

From the Let It Play Productions press release, Alexander states:  “I was pretty certain I'd stay in TV rather than returning to the feature world, because the material just seems so much better in TV, especially in drama, but then “Crossface” came my way. A heartbreaking, true story about the dark side of wrestling...I couldn't say no to that."

My body is ready. 


Brittani Burnham said...

As a life long wrestling fan, and a huge Benoit fan during most of that, I don't know what to feel about this movie. Seeing one of your favorites commit such an atrocious crime was hard, it made me kind of fall away from wrestling for a while. (Even if I don't watch it now, I still try to read about it) But at the same time, I don't think his amazing history in the ring should be erased for what he did. WWE already tries to do that.

I'm so torn on this, but I'll be following it to see where it goes. She seems like the kind of director who will handle it well.

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