Ever since his recovery from a nearly fatal illness last fall, Ric Flair has had a new lease on life. The ESPN documentary about his life was released, he appeared at WWE’s Starrcade live event, and he became wrestling’s Colonel Sanders, whatever that means. Most recently, he’s appeared in a hip hop video.
Today, via The Wrap, we learn that the Nature Boy has also signed on for what sounds like a major role in an upcoming movie with the unusual title of Uncle Steamroller & The Champion Rabbit. The film, which is written by Brian Kowalchuk, is currently in production. The protagonist is an Iraqi war vet and pro wrestler, who’s trying to make it back to the top with a failed motivational speaker as his manager. Ric Flair will appear as the president of the World Wrestling Union, the Las Vegas-based promotion in which the main character wrestles.
The Wrap refers to Uncle Steamroller & The Champion Rabbit as Ric Flair’s “feature-length acting debut,” but that’s not precisely true.
He appeared in 1974’s The Wrestler, alongside Ed Asner and a bunch of guys who wrestled for Verne Gagne at the time. He also showed up in 1986’s Body Slam, which starred Dirk Benedict and Roddy Piper. Of course in both films he played a pro wrestler named Ric Flair, but of course he’s been playing that character for a long time. He was noticeably on set during the shooting of Magic Mike XXL, and apparently filmed a cameo, but nobody seems to be able to spot him in the finished and edited film.
His acting resume also includes one amazing episode of Baywatch, and a bunch of other weird stuff for the curious. However, it sounds like Uncle Steamroller & The Champion Rabbit is possibly the first time Flair has been cast as a real character with an important part to play in the story, instead of just showing up so people can say “Hey, it’s Ric Flair.”
Talking to The Wrap, Flair was very enthusiastic about the entire production:
I really like this wonderfully written script and find it to be very entertaining. The edgy sense of humor is great, but the story also has a good heart. I’m expecting the inspirational story line will appeal to fans that extend beyond my loyal core wrestling base, and I am seriously looking forward to getting this film in front of worldwide audiences. Wooooooooooooooooo!
Brian Kowalchuk is equally excited about working with Ric Flair:
It’s really cool to have the fabulously talented Ric Flair on board and we are super-thrilled. I tried to write something fresh and bold; and put a lot of work into it. Even so, I think I might’ve gotten a bit lucky because it seems like maybe it could find a good audience. Especially considering it’s R-rated material.
Ric Flair and his fiancee Wendy Barlow are also executive producers on the film. It’s currently in development, and more details will surely follow as production rolls along.