ESPN Films announced at the Television Critics Association Press Tour (TCA) that its 30 for 30 documentary “Nature Boy” -- on pro wrestling legend Ric Flair -- will premiere on Tuesday, Nov. 7 at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Director Rory Karpf (“I Hate Christian Laettner,” “The Book of Manning”) will take an inside look at Flair’s story, including his triumphs, his tragedies and his pivotal role in turning pro wrestling into mainstream sports entertainment.
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Real or Fake? It’s a question that shadowed professional wrestling years ago. But for one of the industry’s most legendary performers, there’s never been any separation between the ring and the world around it.
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His story starts in the Midwest, when a young Richard Fliehr set his sights on rising to stardom in a unique world and decided to do anything necessary to get to where he wanted. A character was born, along with a singular desire “to be the man” and a drive that made him as popular and polarizing as any figure ever to step into the ring.
The success took a considerable toll – on his body and on his wives and children – and in 2013 came a tragic postscript. But today, Flair remains as defiant as ever, proud of his legacy, eager to remain in the spotlight.
This is the story of a man, a character, and their unbreakable connection.
“This film was basically borne out of working with Rory Karpf on our ‘I Hate Christian Laettner’ documentary,” 30 for 30 Executive Producer John Dahl said in a release. “Rory interviewed Ric for his take on sports villains and wanted to do a film on him next. After watching that interview for the Laettner film, we were convinced that Ric would be a fascinating subject to explore for our first feature-length 30 for 30 on a pro wrestler.”
“Nature Boy” features two in-depth conversations between Karpf and Flair over a 16-month span, surrounded by interviews with those closest to the man himself; including Triple H, Hulk Hogan, Ricky Steamboat, Baby Doll, Tully Blanchard, The Undertaker, Arn Anderson, Shawn Michaels, Sting and Road Warrior Animal as well as his first wife, Leslie Jacobs, and children along with others who know Flair best.
“I grew up a huge wrestling fan in the 1980s and I was captivated by Ric Flair,” Director Rory Karpf said. “It's been a personally rewarding experience to tell the story of arguably the greatest wrestler of all time. Ric’s story transcends the wrestling business, and my hope is that it will appeal to wrestling and non-wrestling fans alike.”
About ESPN Films
ESPN Films has been an industry leader in documentary filmmaking since its inception in March 2008, producing more than 100 documentaries that have showcased some of the most compelling stories in sports.
The high quality of storytelling, highlighted by the Peabody and Emmy-Award winning 30 for 30 series and the Academy-Award winning documentary “O.J.: Made in America,” has led to record viewership as well as multiple honors and critical acclaim. Additional projects from ESPN Films over the years have included 30 for 30 Shorts, Nine for IX and the SEC Storied series.
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