THE WRESTLER filmmaker Aronofsky goes to the mat for real wrestlers
Our buddy Harry Knowles at Ain't It Cool sent us this story from Lost Colony Entertainment about Darren Aronofsky's admirable attempt to get wrestlers the same kind of union protection as other actors, instead of the quasi-circus freak status they labor under now. We're all for it - and we're all for THE WRESTLER - opening this weekend at the Ritz. Live Wrestling on Thursday opening night!
'Wrestler' Director Calls for Screen Actors Guild to Intervene on Behalf of Real-Life Wrestlers
Friday, December 29, 2008
As we reported several days ago, World Wrestling Entertainment owner Vince McMahon was reportedly angered by the content of Darren Aronofsky’s critically acclaimed film, “The Wrestler,” after the filmmaker gave the wrestling promoter a private screening at his Stamford, Connecticut offices.
The film, which centers on an aging wrestler named Randy “The Ram” Robinson (played by Mickey Rourke)--who goes from headlining major WWE-like events to performing in high school gyms in front of 200 fans--apparently struck a raw nerve with McMahon, who is allegedly blocking Fox’s attempts to advertise the film during WWE broadcasts on Fox-owned MyNetwork.. Aronofsky probably didn’t endear himself to McMahon with recent comments he’s made regarding the unionization of the wrestling industry either. “There’s really no reason why these guys are not in SAG,” Aronofsky told Newsday
. “They’re in front of a camera performing and doing stunts, and they should have that protection. They should have health insurance and they should be protected." Curiously, McMahon has long maintained that his “independently contracted” performers aren’t athletes but “entertainers,” partially to get around having his events regulated by state athletic commissions. However, in order to keep the Screen Actors Guild out of his business, his shows are strangely identified as “sports programming.” "I’m really curious to see what some of these old-timers make of it,” said Aronofsky in an interview with Reelz Channel. “When I won the Golden Lion, I dedicated the film to all the wrestlers, I kind of shared their stories. They’re a unique lot. They’re not organized, they have no pension, no health care, so many of them are tragically dying at a young age. I was talking to Mickey, ‘Why aren’t wrestlers in SAG?’ If you really think about it, the Screen Actors Guild should organize them…They’re performing in front of a camera, and stuntmen are SAG." Interestingly enough, Rourke was nominated this past week for Best Actor at the SAG Awards for his role in “The Wrestler.”