It was inevitable: a film company has decided to make a movie on the Chris Benoit double murder suicide tragedy. If that wasn't enough for Vince McMahon to fall into one of his notoriously foul moods upon hearing the news, then their plans to adapt Matthew Randazzo V's infamous book "Ring Of Hell: The Story Of Chris Benoit & The Fall Of The Pro Wrestling Industry," which painted a highly unflattering picture of life behind the scenes at WWE, will surely do so. The news comes from a press release by SRG Films, the people behind the project:
"Crossface", a biographical thriller, delves into the pressures WWE superstar Chris Benoit faced throughout his wrestling career as the combination of drug-use, depression, and head trauma became increasingly impossible for him to handle. The true story made headline news in 2007 when Chris murdered his wife and young son before taking his own life.
SRG Films head Dale Alexander Carnegie is producing the film, while William Morris Endeavor (WME) is on board to package the project. Former Weinstein Company staffer, Sarah Coulter, turned in the first draft of the script in mid-October.
"All of us grow up believing that wrestling is fake, but looking at the shocking number of deaths in the industry, it quickly becomes evident that there is nothing fake about the dangers of this sport," Carnegie said. "Chris Benoit has become a poster child for everything that's wrong with professional wrestling and Sarah's terrific script captures his struggles and the many factors that led to the deaths of three people."
Coulter added: "People immediately point to steroids, never thinking about the brain trauma these wrestlers can, and do, incur in their profession, nor do they consider the rigorous schedule that keeps them working even when they shouldn't be. The Benoit story is one that needs to be brought into the light.
SRG Films, currently in talks with directors and actors, plans to begin filming in the fall of 2012.
Probably most disturbing for WWE is the decision by the filmmakers to focus on the head trauma Benoit suffered in his job as a full time professional wrestler for over two decades as a key factor that led to the atrocities and his premature death. As covered here 12 months ago on Cageside Seats, WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt has robustly disputed the published research by Dr. Bennet Omalu that Chris Benoit had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at the time of his death. So I expect WWE to do everything in their power to stop this film from ever getting released. Like Jim Ross, who expressed his disinterest in the movie via Twitter, this is surely one horse WWE wants to be put in the barn and unsaddled.