Why Hemsworth’s Hulk Hogan biopic could be ‘special’
Oscar-nominated director Todd Phillips says he thinks the Hulk Hogan biopic he's planning to make with Chris Hemsworth could be "something special".
It was announced last year that Phillips, whose most recent movie Jokermade more than $1.5 billion at the box office and is up for 11 Oscars next month, and the Aussie A-lister would team up to tell the story of the early days of the wrestling great, whose real name is Terry Gene Bollea.
"That's a script that we have been working on for a while that we might do for Netflix," confirmed Phillips, who is in talks for a Joker sequel. "But I am not positive that's going to happen next."
The over-the-top, flamboyant former WWE star Hogan had expressed an interest in Hemsworth playing his younger self in a 2013 interview.
Phillips said that he was impressed with the Thor star's passion for the project, which reminded him of his Joker star and unbackable Oscar favourite Joaquin Phoenix.
"Like Joaquin, I love these guys who just commit and go full-boar into something," said Phillips.
"The conversations I have had with Chris about it and the spark he has in his eye when we talk about it, it feels like it could be something special.
"It's not a straight-up origin of Terry - Hulk's real name - it's a much more twisted look at that world and quite frankly, the reality of truth."
Phillips also paid tribute to the late, great Heath Ledger, one of Phoenix's predecessors in the role of Batman's nemesis.
Phoenix hailed Ledger in his acceptance speech at the recent Screen Actors Guild, saying "I'm standing here on the shoulders of my favourite actor, Heath Ledger."
Phillips said that the Aussie Dark Knight star was so untouchable in the performance that won him a posthumous Best Supporting Actor in 2009 that he and Phoenix deliberately steered clear in making Joker, which is out now on home entertainment and in the Foxtel Store.
"It would be too intimidating to look at Chris Nolan's films or Tim Burton's films for me as a director," Phillips said.
"And I know for Joaquin as an actor, if he were to study what Heath was doing or what Jack Nicholson was doing, in a weird way it would just get in your head too much and become paralysing. So while we have both seen those movies, we had to put them on the backburner and say 'OK, we are just going to do our own thing here'."