Kennedy, Esposito to star in WWE pic

Jamie Kennedy, Jennifer Esposito, Alicia Witt, Phillip Baker Hall and Jessica Walter will star in “Bending the Rules,” the latest film World Wrestling Entertainment is producing.

Samuel Goldwyn Films will distrib the drama, which promintently features WWE grappler Adam Copeland, better known as Edge.

Film revolves around Kennedy’s character, a district attorney intent on taking down a corrupt New Orleans police detective, played by Edge.

Artie Mandelberg, an executive producer on “Saving Grace,” helms from a script by Dylan Schaffer.

Shepherded by executive VP Mike Pavone, WWE Studios is readying to roll out the wrestling drama “Legendary,” featuring John Cena, on Sept. 10, as the first of a series of nine films it is self-financing for between $5 million to $10 million each, and lensing back-to-back in New Orleans. The comedy “Knucklehead,” with Big Show and Mark Feuerstein, unspools Oct. 24.

The slate is an attempt to build a library of pics WWE can generate coin from with a limited run in theaters, on DVD and through a planned TV channel it’s developing.

The company took control over its film slate earlier this year after pairing up with 20th Century Fox and Lionsgate over the past decade to co-produce pics (Daily Variety, Jan. 19).

The new films lineup of films are developed with more experienced thesps like Patricia Clarkson, Danny Glover, Ed Harris, Parker Posey, Amy Madigan, Anabeth Gish and Michael Rapaport, among others, surrounding WWE’s roster of wrestlers, like Cena, Big Show, Edge, Randy Orton and Triple H.

Others announced are the suspenser “Inside Out” and comedy “The Chaperone,” both with Triple H, Orton’s tentatively titled drama “That What I Am,” and a biopic of Georgeous George.

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