It was also the age of Liberace.
WWE stands for “World Wrestling Entertainment,” and while most of that entertainment is, indeed, wrestling (or at least staged wrestling), the company has been working on expanding their definition of entertainment. The company has been moving into film production, aiming to make nine films over two years. They’re all low-budget, shot quickly, and filmed in Louisiana for the tax breaks. The fourth is currently in production.
The goal, however, is not to make films about their most obvious subject–wrestling. Well, until now. Deadline reports that WWE has acquired the rights to a 2008 biography of Gorgeous George, the flamboyant bad boy of wrestling who made his name in the 1950s. John Capouya wrote the book, “Gorgeous George: The Outrageous Bad-Boy Wrestler Who Created American Pop Culture.” John Posey is adapting it.
Mike Pavone, head of WWE Films described the story this way:
“George Wagner was a good wrestler who couldn’t get over the top until he developed this character that people loved to hate. He had this effeminate, aristocratic persona that he and his wife Betty created from whole cloth, down to the robes and platinum blonde hairstyle his wife copied from Betty Grable. George realized that they don’t come to see the good guy win, they come to see the bad guy lose. He paraded as this effeminate man in the 40s and 50s in Texas and the South, with 12,000 people screaming and throwing things.”
He went down the hard way, though–apparently he tried to keep his career going too long and ended up having his head shaved in the ring by “Dick the Destroyer” after losing a match. Wow. How the mighty do fall.
I remember reading a review of Capouya’s book when it came out (review here). The review noted that George had an influence on people like Muhammed Ali, James Brown, John Waters, and a young Bob Dylan, of all people. This seems like a good subject for a biopic, and the type of show-offy part that an actor looking for an Oscar would love. So, gentlemen, who’s ready to put on a headful of flowing blonde curls?