The much-talked about Chris Benoit biopic Crossface appears to be picking up steam, with a director for the project being officially announced.
Per film site Deadline, little-known Brazilian filmmaker Vicente Amorim will be taking the helm of biopic. The site notes that the film is scheduled to go into production next year with newcomer Sarah Coulter penning the screenplay.
Deadline also snagged some remarks from the director, who discussed how he was approaching the story:
“Wrestling is showbiz taken to the extreme and ‘Crossface’ is Limelight on steroids,” said Amorim, who with other directors is currently working on Rio, I Love You. “Chris Benoit’s story is the perfect vehicle for a fiercely honest film that is as much about him and the world of wrestling as it is about America and show business. I am very happy to be on board to help tell this story.”
In what will surely go down as one of the biggest stories in wrestling history, former World Heavyweight champion Chris Benoit murdered his wife and son at the family's home in Atlanta before committing suicide in June 2007.
The murder-suicide sparked a wave of bad and damaging publicity for WWE, and its ripples can still be felt to this day.
It also served to bring the issue of concussions in wrestling to the forefront, with Chris Nowinski and the Sports Legacy Institute arguing that Benoit's actions were mainly the result of brain trauma from years of hard-hitting bumps.
It had previously been claimed that Ray Donovan actor Liev Schreiber was in talks to play the role of Chris Benoit in the film, but reps for the star denied this to TMZ.
Presumably, WWE isn't exactly thrilled with the news that Crossface is being made. The company has (rightly) worked hard to scrub Benoit's name from its history since the tragedy, and it will most likely be dismayed to see all this being dragged up again in the form of an explosive biopic.
That the film is at least partly based on Matthew Randazzo's controversial Ring of Hell probably doesn't help matters. Randazzo was extremely critical of WWE and the McMahons in the book.
But, if it's any consolation to WWE brass, it seems unlikely Crossface will make much of an impact, assuming it does get made.
First announced in 2011, the film has been stuck in production hell for ages. That's never a good sign.
And, with all due respect, Amorim and Coulter are hardly major names in the industry. Indeed, Amorim's most notable work is probably the little-known indie drama Good, starring Viggo Mortensen.
If Crossface does get released, it's more likely to sink without a trace in a limited theatrical release, than emerge as a major award-winner.