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HBO, Bill Simmons developing Andre the Giant documentary

By
Wade Sheridan
Andre the Giant talks with Rowdy Roddy Piper on Piper's Pit. The wlife of the wrestling icon will be explored as part of a documentary from HBO and Bill Simmons. Photo courtesy of WWE/YouTube
Andre the Giant talks with Rowdy Roddy Piper on Piper's Pit. The wlife of the wrestling icon will be explored as part of a documentary from HBO and Bill Simmons. Photo courtesy of WWE/YouTube

Feb. 14 (UPI) -- HBO and sports personality Bill Simmons are developing a documentary that will explore professional wrestling legend Andre the Giant.

According to Sports Illustrated, the project is being co-produced by HBO Sports, WWE and the Bill Simmons Media Group.

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The deal represents the first between HBO and WWE with the sports entertainment giant having recently worked with ESPN on a number of wrestling-themed 30 for 30 documentaries.

"For more than 20 years, Andre the Giant's larger than life personality and unique charisma captured the imagination of fans around the world," WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon said in a statement to Variety. "I will always value our friendship, and am proud to tell the story of the 'Eighth Wonder of the World'."

The film will explore his upbringing in France, his wrestling career and his time spent in Hollywood. No release date has been set.

Simmons, who previously worked for ESPN and helped develop 30 for 30, joined HBO in July of 2015. That deal included Simmons producing his now canceled talk show Any Given Wednesday and a number of other projects.

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"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. 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," Simmons said in a statement.

Towering over 7-foot-4-inches, Andre the Giant, real name Andre Rene Roussimoff, remained undefeated for 15 years in the WWE until his famous feud with Hulk Hogan which culminated in his first defeat at the record-breaking WrestleMania III. Roussimoff is also known for his role as Fezzik in 1987's The Princess Bride.

Roussimoff died of heart failure at the age of 46 in 1993. WWE still honors one of their biggest stars every year at WrestleMania with the annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale in which the winner receives a golden statue made in his likeness.

Previously in May of 2016, a biopic centering around the life of Roussimoff developed by his daughter Robin Christensen-Roussimoff and based off an authorized graphic novel published in 2015 titled Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven, was announced.

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