“ANDRE THE GIANT” TO DEBUT ON HBO
NEW YORK AND STAMFORD, CONN., February 13, 2017 – HBO Sports, WWE® (NYSE: WWE) and
the Bill Simmons Media Group will produce ANDRE THE GIANT, a documentary film
examining the life and career of one of the most beloved legends in WWE history, it
was announced today by Kevin Dunn, WWE Executive Producer, and Peter Nelson,
Executive Vice President, HBO Sports. The ambitious and wide-ranging documentary
film will explore Andre’s upbringing in France, his celebrated career in WWE and his
forays in the entertainment world.
“For more than 20 years, Andre the Giant’s larger than life personality and unique
charisma captured the imagination of fans around the world,” said WWE Chairman & CEO
Vince McMahon. “I will always value our friendship, and I am proud to tell the
story of the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’.”
Bill Simmons, who joined HBO in the summer of 2015 and founded The Ringer, will
serve as an executive producer of the film. “Going back to 2007 and 2008 when I was
creating and developing ’30 for 30′ for ESPN, Andre’s story rode the top of every
single sports documentary wish list I ever made,” said Simmons. “We always hear
about unicorns these days – Andre was the ultimate unicorn. He’s a true legend.
Everyone who ever crossed paths with him has an Andre story – and usually four or
five. I’m delighted to join forces with Jason Hehir and WWE so we can capture
Andre’s amazing story once and for all.”
Emmy®-Award winning director and producer Jason Hehir will serve as the film’s
director. HBO Sports and WWE are partnering for the first time ever on this
full-length signature presentation, which will combine never-before-seen footage and
revealing interviews for a comprehensive and intimate portrait of one of WWE’s most
beloved, yet largely unknown figures. Interviews will include WWE Superstars, sports
and entertainment executives, athletes, media, family, friends and associates.
André René Roussimoff was born in 1946 in Grenoble, France. Early in his teenage
years, he exhibited signs of gigantism, rapidly growing to more than seven feet,
though he was not diagnosed with acromegaly until his twenties. He began his
training in Paris at 17 and eventually became known in wrestling circuits around the
world, including Europe, Australia and Africa. In 1970, Roussimoff made his Japanese
debut, which put him on the radar of Vince McMahon Sr., founder of what is now known
as World Wrestling Entertainment.
In 1973, Andre joined the organization where McMahon Sr. famously billed him as
Andre the Giant. Andre’s unique voice and athletic prowess, coupled with his more
than 500-pound, seven-foot, four-inch frame, made him an unforgettable attraction.
During his ascension to the top of the ranks, Andre engaged in memorable matches
with Killer Khan, Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy and compiled an undefeated
streak that lasted for the better part of a decade. In 1987, Andre hit the pinnacle
of his career during his rivalry with Hulk Hogan, one of the biggest stars in WWE
and pop culture history. As a new villain, Andre squared off with Hogan at
WrestleMania® III at the Silverdome in Michigan, and in one of the most memorable
moments in history, Hogan body-slammed Andre to retain the championship in front of
While wrestling’s fan base continued to grow, Roussimoff’s health began to decline.
Despite his health issues, the “Eighth Wonder of the World” remained at the
forefront during the company’s golden era. Following WrestleMania III, Andre took on
other WWE Legends such as Jake “The Snake” Roberts(tm), “Macho Man” Randy Savage(tm)
and The Ultimate Warrior® and participated in numerous marquee events until 1991.
Andre became the first-ever inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1993.
Roussimoff’s larger-than-life personality also allowed him to pursue a career in
acting. He appeared in television sitcoms and films during the ’70s and ’80s, often
playing himself or some variation of a human giant, and is remembered for his role
as Fezzik in Rob Reiner’s classic “The Princess Bride.”
Outside the ring, Andre Roussimoff was a gentle giant. The subject of stares and
ridicule for his size throughout his life, he was a self-declared introvert. On Jan.
27, 1993, Andre Roussimoff succumbed to his gigantism and died of congestive heart
failure. And while WWE has had a memorable cast of larger-than-life stars during the
two decades since his passing, Andre the Giant is still remembered as one of the
WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and
recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of
businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global
audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television
programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming
reaches more than 650 million homes worldwide in 25 languages. WWE Network, the
first-ever 24/7 over-the-top premium network that includes all live pay-per-views,
scheduled programming and a massive video-on-demand library, is currently available
in more than 180 countries. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with
offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore,
Dubai, Munich and Tokyo. Additional information on WWE (NYSE: WWE) can be found at
wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to
About HBO Sports
Over the past three decades, HBO Sports has earned a reputation as one of sports
television’s most prolific storytellers. From compelling documentaries to unscripted
reality programming to world championship boxing to magazine-style studio shows, HBO
Sports has been a trailblazer. The department has earned 11 prestigious George F.
Peabody Awards for production excellence in long-form programming and introduced a
host of innovations and enhancements to increase subscriber satisfaction. Since
1991, HBO Sports has also earned 128 Sports Emmy® Awards and has been recognized
with three duPont-Columbia University awards for excellence in broadcast journalism.
About Bill Simmons Media Group
Bill Simmons Media Group was founded in 2015 and immediately launched the multimedia
company The Ringer. The Ringer is comprised of a website
(theringer.com), Newsletter, Podcast Network, Social Media
network, and scripted and non-scripted video production. The Ringer and HBO have
collaborated on various productions including After The Thrones, Any Given Wednesday
and now the Andre the Giant project. Eric Weinberger is the President of The Ringer
and was formerly the Executive Producer at NFL Media. Bill Simmons received three
Sports Emmy® Awards and a Creative Arts Emmy while serving for six years (2009-15)
as an executive producer of original film productions under ESPN’s
Peabody-Award-winning “30 for 30” banner. Simmons was a co-creator of the “30 for
About Jason Hehir
Accomplished film director Jason Hehir, who spent seven years at HBO Sports
(2001-08) before launching his career as an independent director, will direct the
Andre the Giant project. Hehir was a member of the HBO Sports production team that
captured Emmy® Award recognition for the groundbreaking “24/7” reality franchise.
Hehir’s film credits include “The Fab Five,” “Down in the Valley,” “Jose Canseco:
Last Shot,” “Bernie and Ernie” and “The ’85 Bears.”