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 Paige and her family of 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 is co-financing the film with Film4, which 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 U.K. channel,” Johnson said. “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. 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,” Merchant said. “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,” Luisi said. “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,” Misher said. ”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.”