An inside look into the life of "The Eight Wonder Of The World".
On April 10th, HBO will be releasing the 'Andre The Giant' documentary just two days after a memorial battle royal in his name takes place at WrestleMania 34. Director of the documentary Jason Hehir spoke with TV Insider to give an inside look at how the documentary came to be. Hehir and WWE producer Kevin Dunn worked on the piece to show a different side of the big man; simply trying to humanize him.
"It turned out we had the exact sensibilities for this story,” Hehir said, “The goals of the story we wanted to tell, which was to demythologize this mythical figure and tell the story of Andre Roussimoff the human being rather than Andre the Giant the wrestling character.”
Hehir shared that he lacked knowledge about Andre The Giant and although he was aware of who the WWE Hall Of Famer was, he was not that familiar with him.
“I wasn’t aware of all the details of his mythology and it enabled me and my team to go in there with more of a different pair of eyes,” He shared. “Was he really 7-foot-4? Was he really 500 pounds? The first line in his Wikipedia page when we started researching, was that he was from Grenoble, France, which turns out to be six hours south of where he is from. Even the most basic details of this man were called into question as soon as we started making this film. That was challenging but really fun because you couldn’t rely on things that we’ve come to rely on as filmmakers now. Google and Wikipedia are out because all the facts coming up there turned out to be false, so we really had to do literally on-the-ground research.
Another source of information about Andre The Giant was WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. Jason Hehir had the opprotunity to speak with the chairman and CEO of the WWE to get a broader perspective on the big man.
"He was a lot more subdued than I expected,” he admitted. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I’ve seen Vince McMahon the character. I’ve seen him being interviewed on television and in action at WWE events and on TV. I know what his public persona is. He was a lot more subdued, a lot more quiet, a lot more solemn. It was clear from the moment I stepped foot in his office how deadly serious he was of the story of Andre being told the right way. He has an enormous amount of reverence for Andre The Giant. I think part of that is due to the fact that his father, Vince McMahon Sr., was one of Andre’s best friends. I think Vince is very cognizant that we have one chance to tell this story, and it has to be told the right way. It’s not going to be a puff piece. It’s not going to be a love letter to Andre. We also have to tell it with respect and reverence for a guy who, in Vince’s eyes, helped make pro wrestling what it is today. Andre was a huge cog in the early machine of WWF, now WWE. Vince, even today, feels a great debt of gratitude to Andre and what he did to the business."
Jason Hehir would also share how proud he was of himself for being able to get Andre's family on camera, shared a few of the names who spoke about Andre The Giant in the film, and more. To read the full interview, click here.