Writer/Producer/Director Richard O’Sullivan (“One Night With You,” “Hallows”) has optioned the exclusive film and television rights to author Irvin Muchnick’s acclaimed book CHRIS & NANCY: The True Story of the Benoit Murder-Suicide and Pro Wrestling’s Cocktail of Death.
The book details the harrowing true-life story of late WWE wrestler Chris Benoit, who made international headlines in 2007 when he murdered his wife and small son before hanging himself in his Atlanta home.
“It’s a glimpse into the collapse of a fragile mind,” says O’Sullivan. “Chris Benoit was a guy whose brain had been scrambled by a combination of steroids, painkillers, and repeated concussions to the point that he literally lost touch with reality. He was a 40 year old man with the physical brain of an 85 year old Alzheimer’s patient. It’s the story of a true-life descent into hell.”
The Benoit project comes at a time in which the sports entertainer’s former employer, World Wrestling Entertainment, is under intense media scrutiny due to the U.S. Senate campaign of the company’s former CEO, Linda McMahon. O’Sullivan says that while the project isn’t politically motivated, it will be impossible to tell the story without depicting the Connecticut candidate as a character in the film.
“Linda McMahon and her husband Vince obviously play a big part in this story,” says O’Sullivan. “They run a company that was built on the broken bodies of these wrestlers. I mean, it’s staggering when you look at a list of all these young men and women who’ve died as a result of this lifestyle they’ve perpetuated. And now they’re using the money made off these human sacrifices to try and win Chris Dodd’s seat. If you think they’re not eyeing a future run for the White House, then you don’t know how these people think.”
O’Sullivan says that the film is a long way from being cast but thinks Oscar winner Helen Mirren would be the perfect choice to play Linda McMahon.