In 2010, indie filmmaker and screenwriter Richard O’Sullivan wrote a spec script about the Chris Benoit tragedy called Crossface, which he began developing as a feature film project.
After partnering with Let It Play’s Alex A. Ginzburg (Producer of Hardcore Henry and Geezer), O’Sullivan soon grew frustrated by feedback from William Morris Endeavor and stepped aside as Writer/Director (on the condition that he would continue as a Producer on the project).
Now, six years later, Variety.com reports the project is moving forward at Radar Pictures (makers of the Vin Diesel Riddick movies and the upcoming King Kong & Jumanji reboots) with Oscar-winning director Lexi Alexander (Punisher: War Zone) attached.
Alexander will direct from a script by Jake Goldberger and Sarah Coulter. The project is based on Matthew Randazzo’s book “Ring of Hell: The Story of Chris Benoit & the Fall of the Pro Wrestling Industry.” The movie’s title is taken from Benoit’s trademark “crippler crossface” wrestling hold.
“I was pretty certain I’d stay in TV rather than returning to the feature world, because the material just seems so much better in TV, especially in drama, but then ‘Crossface’ came my way,” Alexander said. “A heartbreaking, true story about the dark side of wrestling. … I couldn’t say no to that.”
On Thursday, Richard O’Sullivan posted the Variety article on his Facebook page and then made the following comment:
“Since people have been asking me about this the past couple of days…I have absolutely no details. Just that it’s in development at Radar (which is also developing the “King Kong” and “Jumanji” reboots) with Lexi Alexander as the director. I wrote the first draft, was the original developer of the project, and have a valid contract (not to mention a terrific L.A. entertainment attorney in Manoj Shah who will sue everyone back to the motherfucking stone age if I don’t get paid). Other than that? I wish everyone involved with the project great success. Lexi’s a terrific director.”
Meanwhile, O’Sullivan (along with producing partner Sandra Rayne Garcia) have launched their own New York City-based wrestling company, Lucha Ilimitado, which will hold its first event on Wednesday, October 12 at the Yakima, Washington SunDome.
In an interview on the company’s website, O’Sullivan talked about his previous brushes with wrestling (saving an eight year old Dwayne Johnson’s life, co-creating a sitcom for Mick Foley, and developing a show about ’80s territory wrestling called Citizen Pain for the Fight Network).