The latest name to follow in the footsteps of professional wrestling icons such as Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Dwayne Johnson and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin by making the leap from the squared circle to the cinema screen is current WWE star Hornswoggle (a.k.a. Dylan Postl), with the mischievous grappler set to step into the shoes of Warwick Davis (Life’s Too Short) for the lead in a reboot of the Leprechaun comedy-horror franchise, entitled Leprechaun: Origins.
Originally released in 1993, Leprechaun saw a pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston being stalked by Davis’ malevolent mini-monster during his search for a stolen pot of gold. Despite being panned by critics, the low-budget film was a commercial success and went on to spawn five sequels of diminishing quality, including the likes of Leprechaun 4: In Space, Leprechaun: In the Hood and Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood. Last month, it was revealed that Lionsgate and WWE Studios would team up to reboot the series as the first of a two-picture deal between the two parties, with Hornswoggle’s casting subsequently confirmed by the WWE on their official website.
Barring the abysmal 1989 Hulk Hogan vehicle No Holds Barred, the WWE first dipped their toes into filmmaking waters back when Dwayne Johnson was making the transition from mat star to movie star, serving as co-producers on the likes of The Scorpion King, The Rundown and Walking Tall. In 2004, they established their own subsidiary company, WWF Films (now WWE Studios), and enjoyed a modicum of early success with the likes of See No Evil, The Marine, The Condemned and 12 Rounds before settling into a routine of PG-13 mediocrity.
Although Leprechaun: Origins is joined on WWE Studios’ upcoming slate by the likes of No One Lives (with Brodus Clay) and The Marine: Homefront, the studio are beginning to venture beyond star vehicles for their in-house talent, having recently acquired the rights to the post-apocalyptic thriller The Day, which stars Dominic Monaghan (The Lord of the Rings), and Shawn Ashmore (X-Men), and will also release the WWE superstar-free actioner Barricade later in the year.