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WWE Superstar Paige never anticipated that a movie would be made about her life at the age of 26, and she said it’s “surreal” for Stephen Merchant’s “Fighting With My Family” to finally be released.
“It’s wonderful — obviously I didn’t know I was going to have a movie made about my life at the age of 26, so it’s definitely a surreal moment,” Paige, whose real name is Saraya-Jade Bevis, told TheWrap’s Beatrice Verhoeven at the Sundance Film Festival. “But it feels really good — we have such a wonderful cast. I mean, look at them!”
“Fighting With My Family” cast members Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Nick Frost and Jack Lowden also stopped by TheWrap’s interview studio alongside Merchant, who explained that it’s a very “hopeful, funny, entertaining, emotional, uplifting, inspiring story based on the true life of this woman here, Paige.”
“It’s hopefully a film for anyone who has had a dream and you try to pursue a dream, and it’s tough and it’s hard and it’s even harder when you’re 18 and you have to leave the support network of your family and go 4,000 miles away to another country to try and pursue that,” Merchant said.
“Fighting With My Family” follows Paige (Pugh), who decides she wants to go to the WWE with her brother (Lowden). However, only she gets chosen to head to the United States with the WWE, and she must leave her parents (portrayed by Frost and Headey) behind to follow her dreams. The small indie film was written and directed by Merchant and based on the 2012 documentary “The Wrestlers: Fighting With My Family.”
“I had seen the documentary years ago and it totally blew my mind,” Headey explained. “You just fall in love with the family. They are bonkers and brilliant and I was really excited when I read the script… I just didn’t want to f— up being Julia.”
Frost added that “everyone has a family, everyone has been in love or has been disappointed or been hurt… It’s a story about a family, that’s what it’s about.”
In order to portray Paige, Pugh learned how to wrestle, and she did as much of the wrestling moves as possible.
“One of my favorite things about this film and being able to play her is that Stephen said straight away, ‘I want to you to wrestle as much as possible and I want you to be in it and I want to capture as much of you doing it,’” Pugh explained. “That’s so liberating and exciting that I got to do that.”
Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia, through their Seven Bucks Productions banner, are among the executive producers for the film, while Johnson also appears in the film. However, although the film had Johnson’s name attached to it, for Merchant, it was always meant to stay a small independent film that would premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
“Fighting With My Family” hit theaters on Thursday.
Watch the video above.