ELLERBE — Those who weren’t able to watch the HBO documentary on wrestling legend Andre the Giant may soon have a chance.
Wrestlingdvdnetwork.com announced this week that HBO and WWE are teaming up to release the film on DVD in May.
Chris Owens, who has a large personal collection of Andre memorabilia and was credited as an associate producer, posted details on the documentary release from the website on his personal Facebook page on Thursday.
According to the website, the one-disc release will contain the movie and seven classic matches from 1978 to 1988 as the special features.
“The match listing will be very disappointing to longtime fans as there is nothing special about the selection and all but one have been released on dvd previously,” Owens said in his post.
Those matches include:
- a steel cage match in 1983 and the $15,000 Body Slam Match in 1985 against rival Big John Studd;
- the iconic Wrestlemania III championship match in 1987 and two others against Hulk Hogan; and
- the Battle Royal between the WWE (then known as the WWF for “World Wrestling Federation”) and the NFL in 1986.
The total runtime for the DVD is three hours, according to the website.
The crew that worked on the film, which was released last April, came to Ellerbe in 2017 to shoot B-roll.
Jackie McAuley, a friend of the late wrestler, was interviewed at Millstone 4-H Camp and attended the premiere in Los Angeles.
McAuley said she had been asked by many people if or when it would be available for those without access to the cable channel.
“I think it will open it up so other people can see it,” she said Friday afternoon, with a calendar hanging on the office wall and on a mouse pad on her desk — both Christmas presents from her sister— featuring photos from the premiere and film shoot. “HBO is not available to everybody.”
McAuley and her late ex-husband Frenchy Bernard — a former wrestler, manager and referee — helped run Andre’s ranch just outside Ellerbe while he was on the road.
She donated many of the items on display in a special exhibit at the Rankin Museum of American Heritage. Owens also donated several items.
McAuley said the film didn’t explore much on Andre’s time in Ellerbe, the place he called home from the early ‘80s until his death in 1993.
“They showed the town and they showed shots around the farm,” she said. “The prettiest thing they did was the drone (footage) as it flew over the farm … it was really beautiful to see that footage because it is such a beautiful place there.”
The shots from inside his former home and around the barns didn’t make the final cut, she added.
McAuley said she thought the documentary focused too much on the “locker-room humor” that was a big part of the wrestling world at the time, adding, “… there was so much that they could have said about him, the person.”