×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Celebs Prep for Olympics Smackdown

A cadre of thesps are ready to fight the IOC decision to drop wrestling starting in 2020

Whether it’s George Clooney’s involvement with the Sudan or Matt Damon’s work for clean water, when it comes to causes, Hollywood is engaged. But look for celebs to grapple with an unexpected issue next: wrestling.

(From the pages of the April 2 issue of Variety.)

In February, the Intl. Olympic Committee decided to drop the sport beginning in 2020. Now a group that includes Billy Baldwin, Ashton Kutcher, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Mario Lopez and Matthew Modine are going to the mat to help it get reinstated.

Baldwin, who was a collegiate wrestler at Binghamton U., is spearheading the effort, personally reaching out to actors on behalf of the cause. While the team has yet to fully spring into action, expect it to make some noise on wrestling’s behalf.

“When the time comes, and that time will be soon, there will be a menu of different things that we’ll be asking those involved to do,” Baldwin says. “It’ll include a social media component and maybe adding their name to a letter. We’re also hoping to do an event. That might mean getting on a plane to attend (a planned wrestling match in New York) or doing something in Los Angeles.”

The stars have varying reasons for tackling this issue. Like Baldwin, Lopez competed in the sport; Kutcher grew up with iconic Iowa wrestling brothers Tom and Terry Brands; Tatum and Ruffalo star in the upcoming movie “Foxcatcher” as another famous set of wrestling siblings Mark and Dave Schultz; and Modine headlined the 1985 wrestling film “Vision Quest.”

No doubt, a few tweets from Kutcher, who has some 14 million followers, would grab plenty of attention, but will it persuade the IOC to bring back the sport?

“The push would have to include internationally known celebrities,” says Eric Smallwood, senior VP of Front Row Marketing Services, which specializes in sports and entertainment advertising sponsorship and analytics. “More regionalized or U.S.-based popularity wouldn’t have as much impact.”

Baldwin recognizes his Hollywood effort is a long shot, but the actor is undeterred.

“(IOC president) Jacques Rogge hasn’t heard of half these guys, but just to know there is another layer of support can’t hurt,” he says. “To see there are former wrestlers who have made it big in showbusiness and are doing everything in their power to raise awareness — you never know how that will influence process.”

More Biz

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein Accusers Near Settlement in Bankruptcy Case

    Attorneys in the Weinstein Co. bankruptcy case say they are getting close to reaching a settlement that would compensate Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct accusers. The company went bankrupt last year, as it faced hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and numerous civil suits on behalf of Weinstein’s alleged victims. The company sold to Lantern [...]

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Rolling Stones Give up 'Bittersweet Symphony'

    Rolling Stones Give 'Bittersweet Symphony' Songwriter Royalties to the Verve's Richard Ashcroft

    UPDATED: Nearly 22 years after the Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” was released, the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have assigned to Richard Ashcroft the songwriter royalties and rights from the song, which samples one of their compositions, and removed their writing credits. The news was first reported by the BBC and New Musical Express. [...]

  • Pamela Anderson

    Pamela Anderson Fears Julian Assange 'Won't Survive' Extradition to U.S.

    After previously speaking out in support of her friend and WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, Pamela Anderson doesn’t think he would survive an extradition from the U.K. to the U.S. “I hope he gets out of there, but I don’t think he’ll survive extradition. It can’t happen. It’s not even an option. We can’t have him [...]

  • Jane Austin SAG AFTRA

    SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer Jane Austin Running for President

    Jane Austin, the National Secretary-Treasurer of SAG-AFTRA, has become the third candidate for the presidency of the performers union, joining incumbent Gabrielle Carteris and Matthew Modine. Austin is running as an independent for the top post at SAG-AFTRA, which has 160,000 members. Carteris will seek re-election as the head of the ticket for the Unite [...]

  • Endeavor

    Endeavor Group Holdings Files for Initial Public Offering

    Endeavor Group Holdings, the parent company of talent agency WME, has filed to go public in a development that has long been expected. The company, which filed a Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “EDR.” The number of shares [...]

  • Lisbeth R Barron Investment Banker

    Investment Banker Lisbeth R. Barron on How She Became a Broadway Deal Specialist

    If you want to get a deal done on Broadway, call Lisbeth R. Barron. Barron is a veteran investment banker who launched her own shingle, Barron Intl. Group, in 2015. She has brokered a slew of deals throughout her career — which has included stops at S.G. Warburg and Bear Stearns — involving companies and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content