We Cast the Hulk Hogan Biopic

We Cast the Hulk Hogan Biopic

By now you’ve likely heard the news that Chris Hemsworth has been cast to play Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea in a biopic to be directed by Todd Phillips. The announcement garnered a collective, “I could totally see that” reaction from us. So, Marcus Irving and Sean Beattie put their heads together to make some fantasy picks of who should play the rest of the players in Hogan’s story. This is by no means a comprehensive or even an all-that-apply list, as you’ll see.

Sam Rockwell, Roddy Piper,

Sam Rockwell as Roddy Piper

The two traits which everyone who ever speaks of Rowdy Roddy Piper singles out are his high energy and his near-limitless charisma as a performer. Even when the “How Did This Get Made” podcast tore Piper’s sci-fi trashterpiece Hell Comes to Frogtown, they couldn’t bring themselves to lambast Piper’s performance too harshly. He’s just too much fun to watch, even when he was out of his depth. Rockwell’s got charisma to spare, even managing to make a virulent racist cop in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri borderline likeable. His energy as Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2 and Chuck Barris in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind demonstrate that he can bring the thunder in a pinch, too. - Sean

Mel Rodriguez, Gene Okerlund,

Mel Rodriguez as “Mean” Gene Okerlund

It would be impossible to tell Hulk Hogan’s story without including the late great Gene Okerlund. “Mean” Gene’s legendary backstage interviews were imperative to getting talent over, especially Hogan. The two had a great rapport, and nobody was better at making you believe that heels were worthy of your contempt. It’s more than just the obvious physical resemblance that makes us believe Mel Rodriguez could fill Gene’s shoes, but also his great comedic timing that he displayed while working on Last Man on Earth. Can’t you just imagine Chris Hemsworth and Rodriguez bouncing off each other? - Marcus

Armie Hammer, Ultimate Warrior,

Armie Hammer as Ultimate Warrior

Square-jawed. Intense. Maybe too intense. Whisper-shouts like a champion, and with a glare that could cut glass. These all describe both Hammer and the Warrior. Hammer has leaned more toward the suave end of intense in his career to-date, sure, but if he could bring the energy (and we’re talking runaway nuclear reaction levels of energy), Hammer could absolutely nail the Warrior (so, so sorry for that choice of words) and play a strong minor rival to Hemsworth’s Hogan. - Sean

Channing Tatum, Randy Savage,

Channing Tatum as “Macho Man” Randy Savage

Despite already having the size and presence to play the goofball character that was the “Macho Man”, it’s just fun to imagine Channing Tatum putting on the cowboy hat and those bananas colorful outfits, and imitating the voice. That famous voice that sounded as if Savage was constantly sucking in air as e was speaking, straining to take every single breath. Plus, just imagine Channing Tatum carrying Alison Brie around on his shoulders. - Marcus

Alison Brie, Miss Elizabeth,

Alison Brie as Miss Elizabeth

As much as you can’t have Hulk Hogan without Randy Savage, you can’t have the “Macho Man” without Miss Elizabeth. The pairing is one of the best in professional wrestling history, with a genuine sense of care for each other that made them always stick by each other’s side. Alison Brie already has the brunette hair to he frizzed out and the actual wrestling experience from her time on the Netflix series GLOW, and I can’t think of anybody more tailor-made to play Miss Elizabeth. - Marcus

Haley Joel Osment, Ted DiBiase,

Haley Joel Osment and Ted DiBiase

Yeah, you read that right. Go look up what Osment looks like these days—he’s come a long way from seeing dead people. He’s got a dense beard, and some wavy hair on his head now. DiBiase, whom Hogan credits with first putting him over with fans, was of an old guard, “thick muscular” wrestler type, where Hogan was more of a “cut muscle” performer. With a little hair and makeup and some choice costuming (gotta have the gold cummerbund), Osment could be putting jobbers into a Million Dollar Dream convincingly with minimal effort. - Sean

Stephen Root, Jim Ross,

Stephen Root as Jim Ross

Flat out, Stephen Root has the look, vocal abilities (Bill Dauterive’s voice from King of the Hill, but more energetic, would nail it) and presence to fill the Stetson of Jim “JR” Ross. Now, Ross and Hogan’s time in the WWF/WWE promotion didn’t overlap until after the period the film is going to deal with. But in many wrestling fans’ minds it wouldn’t feel authentic if Ross weren’t at least somewhat present. For the better part of 30 years, Ross’s voice simply was the voice of the broadcasts (along with Bobby Heenan and then Jerry Lawler). Root’s also got a screen presence that can ground or elevate a scene depending on the need. - Sean


Winston Duke as Mr. T

It’s easy to forget, but Mr. T was in the main event of the very first Wrestlemania, where he teamed up with Hulk Hogan to take down Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff, making him a crucial part of the Hulkster’s story. The man has barely aged a day in the 30+ years since, so we could easily make a case that he should just play himself, but instead we’re going with Winston Duke. The man who rocketed to star status with his great role in Black Panther is already signed onto a Kimbo Slice biopic, so he already has experience playing famous fighters. He’s already got the physique, just get him a mohawk and some chains and he’s set. - Marcus


Michael Shannon as Vince McMahon

This being a film where Vince McMahon is both likely depicted and involved in the production, his (in)famous vanity is likely going to be the sticking point for casting directors. Guy’s gonna want a star with strong presence playing him onscreen. Someone who simply by virtue of stepping into frame, you will know that This Man Is Not to Be Fucked With.

I’d argue heartily that that man is Michael Shannon. Shannon’s a tall man (6’4”, per Google), and has become quite known for playing heels. Shannon also looks entirely at ease in a suit, which is something of a staple for Vince’s appearances in the promotion’s broadcasts. He’s also got a great growl that’ll totally make a drawn out, “YOU’RE FIRED” go over. - Sean


David Arquette as Eric Bischoff

This one might be a longshot, as Hogan’s and Bischoff’s histories didn’t really overlap til the 90s. But it wouldn’t be entirely out of question to see Bischoff make an appearance in Hogan’s story, especially since Bischoff is also executive producing the film. Bischoff has always had a bit of weasel-y energy to his appearances on camera, whether as an original host or eventual manager of WCW’s New World Order lineup. But to sell that kind of a character, however limited, Arquette could be the “wink/nod”, inside baseball casting choice that might pique fans’ interest. He’s had regular appearances in promotions for years, possesses a kind of fidgety energy that could make you give his presence the side-eye, and his charisma could make potential conflict between promotions in Hogan’s story go over like gangbusters. - Sean


Tenacious D as Legion of Doom, Hawk & Animal

This one just makes us laugh. But if you’re going to go for the excess of 1980s WWF/E promotion, you have to include at least some bonkers tag team lineups. As a pair of face painted, football padded wrestlers “inspired” by the Mad Max movies, The Road Warriors Hawk and Animal require a pair of actors with strong chemistry, who maybe don’t have the same physicality as say, Hogan or Ultimate Warrior. But they still need to be able to sell a brand of crazy that “The D” is also known for constantly and earnestly putting over with their audience. - Sean

Andre the Giant,

Andre the Giant as Andre the Giant

You may have noticed that there is one massive, 7-foot 500-pound absence on this list, and there’s a reason for that. Simply put, there is nobody capable or worthy of portraying Andre the Giant. Never mind the stature or shape, which would have to be achieved through makeup and some Lord of the Rings-level forced perspective fuckery, but who could possibly imitate that larger-than-life soul (besides Jason Segel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall)? We can’t think of anybody, and think that a mix of archival footage and an off-screen presence is the only way to go. - Marcus

Interview: Mallory O’Meara, author of The Lady from the Black Lagoon

Interview: Mallory O’Meara, author of The Lady from the Black Lagoon

The Need for More from Captain Marvel and Hollywood

The Need for More from Captain Marvel and Hollywood