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THE BIG SHOW WAS ALMOST IN GLADIATOR | ManlyMovie

THE BIG SHOW WAS ALMOST IN GLADIATOR

There aren’t many men who stand at over seven foot tall.  But there are even fewer who complimented such a frame by hitting up the juice and appearing like a literal dinosaur.  Around 1999 7’2 pro wrestler Paul Wight (then called ‘The Big Show’) was for around 20 months in peak shape and possibly the strongest and largest man who ever lived.  Weighing over a quarter of a ton of mostly muscle driven by a growth hormone imbalance (and probably other ‘chemicals’), Wight would reputedly bench press 700lbs.

By way of the actor’s son, Wight’s frame caught the eye of Nicolas Cage.

“There were so many projects I couldn’t do because of the WWE schedule,” Wight revealed in the Chris Van Vliet podcast. “When I first signed with WWE, Nick Cage reached out to me because his son was a big fan of me. Nick Cage was trying to hook me up with this Russel Crowe movie. But it was being shot in Spain so I would have to be in Spain for 6 weeks for it. But I’m thinking ‘Russel Crowe is going to be a star, Nick Cage wants me, I’ve got it.’ I go to ask Vince and he says ‘I’m paying you to be a wrestler, not an actor.’

“So that was the end of that. So then it’s like ‘yeah you are paying me a lot of money to be a wrestler, I will go back to work sir.’ 

Wight didn’t mention which role in the movie was lined up for him.  One possibility is the role of Tigris of Gaul: An undefeated gladiator who is called out of retirement by Commodus to kill Maximus but is defeated by Maximus.  Actors sought for the role were to be of large size and presence, with Sven Ole Thorsen eventually getting the role.  Lou Ferrigno also missed out on this role.

… if that indeed was the intention, or even truth.