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The Reeler Blog

Bad Sports

By S.T. VanAirsdale

The Reeler is today faced with a veritable bounty of not just one, but two regional sports cinema stories. OK -- actually it's still only one considering the first concerns the cellu-roid badasses at Stamford-based World Wrestling Entertainment, now partnering with Fox in a first-look distribution deal on titles pinched from their WWE Films shingle:

First pic out of the multi-year deal with Fox is 12 Rounds, an actioner toplined by John Cena that bows in 2009 and will be released under the Fox Atomic label. Production on the pic, with Renny Harlin at the helm, begins this month in New Orleans.

WWE is looking to spend around $20 million for theatrical releases while direct-to-DVD titles would be made for around $3 million to $5 million.

The wrestling org has had mixed success since forming its film division in 2002, releasing three pics, See No Evil, featuring Glen "Kane" Jacobs; The Marine, also with Cena; and The Condemned, with Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Clearly nothing has changed in the intervening years since Capitol Pictures stonewalled Barton Fink ("Wallace Beery. Wrestling picture. Whaddya need, a road map?"), but I digress. The sophisticated brass at Fox Atomic obviously sense a natural personality match with the 'tween-stalkers at WWE, though Variety's Marc Graser notes that Fox Atomic won't be releasing every title, especially if the testosterrific Renny Harlin isn't attached to guarantee one of his signature eye-bludgeoning efforts on WWE's behalf.

In other assembly-line cinema news, Hoboken blogger Mike Lozo features a candid interview (via HE) with Middling Sports-Comedy Hall of Famer Will Ferrell -- or does he?

Me: It seems to me that all your movies are the same and you have very little range as an actor, yet people continue to go to see your movies. In Anchorman, you played a dumb newscaster who takes his shirt off. In Blades of Glory, you play a dumb skater who crams his fat body into tights. In Ricky Bobby, you play a dumb race car driver who at some point goes shirtless. All you ever do is play an idiot who shows off his sloppy body. Do you think America will ever get tired of that?

Will: Absolutely not. American film-goers are total idiots. They've been going to see the same romantic comedies and action movies for decades, so I see no reason to change up my formula. I have three movies in production that are scheduled to come out between the end of this year and 2009. In one, I play a retired place-kicker who comes back for one more season despite having suffered a career-ending head injury, but demands to play in his old uniform, which is of course too tight for me. It's called The Dumb Fat Kicker. After that, I play a tennis pro who refuses to train and work out who never went to school so he gets all his facts and names and history mixed up. It's called The Dumb Tennis Player. Finally, I really stretch my acting legs. We haven't started filming yet, but I play a world champion checkers player who only plays shirtless. Oh, he's an idiot, too. It's called King Me: The Idiot Checkers Champion Guy.

OK, OK. We get it, even if a lot of Lozo's commenters don't: "It was nice of him to at least admit that he's started sucking," writes one, oblivious to the gag. Not that it's funny. Which is the point. I think. Fuck it, I'm going to watch Slap Shot.

Posted at February 26, 2008 4:32 PM

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