Everything We Know So Far About The Rock’s New WWE-Inspired Movie

By GQ Staff
10 February 2019
Fighting With My Family, The Rock, WWE, Dwayne Johnson
Getty Images
'Fighting With My Family' is partly inspired by the story of WWE wrestler, Paige.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson doesn’t waste time. The man is a powerhouse of beefed up man flesh and still finds the time to give back to others, be a loving father, and produce movies with his production company, Seven Bucks.

How he has enough hours in the day to do all of this with an unwavering sense of enthusiasm and superhuman energy, we couldn’t tell you.
But with his latest movie Fighting With My Family having just premiered at Sundance Film Festival, here’s everything we know about the flick so far.

Based on the life story of WWE wrestler Paige

The film will give audiences an insight into the world of WWE wrestling. Florence Pugh (Outlaw King) will play Saraya, who later adopts the wrestling persona “Paige.”

The film begins as a portrait of wrestling-obsessed family life in working class Norwich in the United Kingdom. It then follows Paige as she moves to the United States and illustrates the clash between her goth sensibilities to her fellow female wrestlers. Ultimately, the film builds to her climactic Divas Champion fight with AJ Lee at WWE Raw.

The Rock plays himself in a cameo

The film tells the story of Paige, so naturally fans of Dwayne Johnson will have to settle for the actor playing a smaller part, with much less screen time. Johnson plays himself in the film, in a cameo which mirrors true events.

That said, the film boasts a spectacular cast with writer and director Merchant, Lena Headey of Game of Thrones, Vince Vaughn of True Detective and Nick Frost of Hot Fuzz.


A small movie with a humble budget

The Rock is known for going all-out in his movies, just look at his latest Fast and the Furious instalment with Jason Statham. But with this film, it’s much smaller and was produced with a budget of just $11 million, co-financed by WWE.

Being a comedy, the film is also very quirky no thanks to Stephen Merchant who wrote the script and also directs.

A difficult release

With the film being such a departure from Johnson’s brand, Seven Bucks have experienced a rather rocky road to release. Having been unable to find a distributor, the film was screened at Sundance Film Festival where it was hoped a studio would buy into it.

Unfortunately, as Johnson told The Hollywood Reporter, no studio did. They all passed on the small British comedy about a crazy, albeit un-famous, wrestling family.

Johnson’s co-CEO at Seven Bucks, Danny Garcia, believes that there is a “certain stigma” surrounding wrestling, particularly when portrayed in film, that doesn’t translate to other sports.

Rave reviews

It may have struggled to find a distributor, but the screening of Fighting With My Family at Sundance has only been met with positive reviews. Variety’s Dennis Harvey said the film is “probably the best of the 50-odd movies WWE has produced since 2002’s The Scorpion King,” a feat he credits to “the warmth and good humour Merchant brings to the material, as well as the excellent cast.”

Entertainment Weekly’s Leah Greenblatt calls the film “a goofy WWE comedy with heart,” adding: “Most of Fighting’s narrative moves are as choreographed as any undercard match – and the outcome as clearly forecast – but the tears brought on by the movie’s last ten minutes of rhinestoned Rocky triumph taste salty, and real.”

Following the festival premiere, Johnson said, “The wrestling fans floated out of the theatres. And the non-wrestling fans, the ones who have a bit more heightened taste in terms of their movies, they were just pleasantly surprised.”

If anything can be gleaned from these reviews, it’s that this is a film that will satisfy the biggest WWE fans and the average filmgoer alike.