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Herek to direct ‘Chaperone’

Levesque, Gish costar in WWE film

Stephen Herek will helm World Wrestling Entertainment’s comedy “The Chaperone,” WWE’s fifth film to lense in New Orleans as the company beefs up its WWE Studios arm.

WWE star Paul “Triple H” Levesque co-stars with Annabeth Gish, Kevin Corrigan (“American Gangster,”) and “Modern Family’s” Ariel Winter.

Playwright S.J. Roth penned the script, about a getaway driver for a crew of bank robbers who is determined to go straight and be the best parent he can be to his daughter, while making amends with his ex-wife. When his old crew’s latest robbery goes awry, they blame the former driver and wind up seeking payback at a school field trip where he’s the chaperone.

WWE is in the midst of producing nine films with budgets hovering around $5 million, with the first, the sports drama “Legendary,” set to bow Sept. 10, followed by the comedy “Knucklehead” on Oct. 24 and “Big Red,” now renamed “That’s What I Am,” and “Inside Out,” formerly “Killing Karma,” out early next year. The films feature some of the company’s bigger names, including John Cena, the Big Show and Randy Orton in supporting roles.

“Inside Out” also features Triple H, who has been featured in actioners like New Line’s “Blade:

WWE 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 and distribute pics (Daily Variety, Jan. 19).

Company is eyeing the films as a way to not only generate more coin through ticket sales at the megaplex but to also drive its home­video biz and to provide a planned TV network with some additional programming.

Herek’s film credits include “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” “101 Dalmatians,” “Holy Man” and “Rock Star.”

WWE Studios executive VP Michael Pavone produces, with VP David Calloway serving as exec producer.

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