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

  • Help Wanted: Amazon Studios International Execs

    Help Wanted: Amazon Studios International Execs Talk European Expansion

    If there’s a perfect example of Amazon Studios’ strategy with its local-language international TV content, Japan’s “Documental” would be it. The series revolves around 10 comedians who battle to make one another laugh in an elimination-style competition. James Farrell, Amazon Studios’ head of international originals, said it was a good example of an unconventional idea [...]


    Netflix and Ava DuVernay Sued by Police Interrogation Firm

    The company behind a controversial police interrogation technique filed a federal lawsuit on Monday against Netflix and director Ava DuVernay, claiming that it was defamed in DuVernay’s miniseries on the Central Park jogger case. John E. Reid and Associates developed the Reid Technique in the late 1940s, and it has continued to offer training materials [...]

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger'Terminator: Dark Fate' film panel,

    Arnold Schwarzenegger Trades CAA for UTA

    Arnold Schwarzenegger has departed his former agency CAA and signed with UTA, which will represent the global superstar and two-time Governor of California in all areas. Schwarzenegger, whose films have grossed more than $4.7 billion worldwide, is set to reprise his celebrated role in the “Terminator” franchise, starring in “Terminator: Dark Fate.” He will also [...]

  • Patrick Moran

    Former ABC Studios Head Patrick Moran Signs Amazon Overall Deal

    Patrick Moran has signed an overall deal with Amazon, Variety has learned. The news comes around three months after it was announced that Moran would be exiting his role as president of ABC Studios following restructuring in the wake of the Disney-21st Century Fox merger. Under his new deal, Moran will work with Amazon Studios to [...]

  • Pamela Adlon

    Pamela Adlon Signs With CAA (EXCLUSIVE)

    Multi-hyphenate Pamela Adlon has signed with CAA for representation, Variety has learned exclusively. Due to the ongoing dispute between the Writers Guild and the talent agencies, however, CAA will not be representing Adlon for writing. In addition to writing, Adlon is an actress, producer, and director. She continues to be repped by Cunningham Escott Slevin Doherty [...]

  • Obit Obituary Placeholder

    Talent Agent Joseph Eric Rice Dies at 61

    Joseph Eric Rice, a talent agent who headed JR Talent Group, died unexpectedly at his home in Laguna Beach, Calif. He was 61. Rice headed his own talent agency based in Studio City where he primary handled actors. Earlier in his career, he headed the theatrical department at Abrams Artists Agency. Rice was born in [...]

  • Terry Back chairman ACF

    Veteran U.K. Media Investor Terry Back Joins ACF as Chairman

    CANNES — Veteran U.K. film industry investor Terry Back has joined ACF investment bank as chairman. ACF, headed by CEO Thomas Dey, has been at the forefront of the M&A activity around independent TV and film production outfits, mostly in the unscripted TV arena. ACF is in the midst of expanding its activities in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content