After watching Ronda Rousey successfully defend her UFC Women’s bantamweight title in December, Warner Bros. seems to see major crossover potential in the UFC fighter, signing her for two high-profile projects.
The studio is in final negotiations to acquire rights to New York Times bestselling author Brad Thor’s “Athena Project” with Rousey attached to star, and it’s also tapped her for one of the female leads in the upcoming “Entourage” movie.
Rousey is currently training for her next fight: On Feb. 22 she will defend her title against Sara McMann at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Rousey will begin shooting her role in the “Entourage” movie in mid-March.
It is unknown what she will do following the “Entourage” shoot since her next fight following McMann has not yet been set. But as “The Athena Project” is still looking for a writer, it’s likely that Rousey will be back in the gym prepping for her next bout.
While the “Entourage” gig gives Rousey a recognizable property through which to get noticed for her acting, “The Athena Project” could give her a possible franchise and perhaps the chance to become the female action star Hollywood is lacking.
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The story follows a top secret, all-female Delta Force counterterrorism team code named the Athena Project that is sent in to hunt and kill a master terrorist after a bombing in Rome kills 20 Americans. Trouble ensues once the team realizes there’s more at play than a simple bombing.
Since she never discusses outside business while she trains for her next fight, Rousey had to be introduced to Thor over the phone during her shoot for “The Expendables 3” in September.
Sources say Rousey fell in love with the book and also quickly clicked with author Thor, attaching herself to the project before it even had a studio involved. After the studio approached her reps about doing the “Entourage” movie, the studio was also interested in other things she may want to work on given the great word of mouth from “The Expendables 3” and “Fast and Furious 7” shoots.
That’s when “The Athena Project” was brought up; the following day, the studio put in a bid for the novel. Warners sees the property as a potential franchise that could appeal to both men and women.
The studio will now look to attach a writer to the pic.
In September, Rousey shot both “The Expendables 3” and “The Fast and Furious 7” and continued to train for her rematch with Miesha Tate on Dec. 31. Since she is unable to train with the same high intensity while shooting a film, Rousey had to go into overdrive to meet the standards of strength and stamina to fight at a championship level.
Rousey, who is repped by WME, her coach Edmond Tarverdyan and lawyer Dave Feldman, can be seen next in “The Expendables 3,” which bows Aug. 15.
Thor is the author of such titles as “Black List,” “The Apostle,” “Path of the Assassin” and “Blowback.” His books have been published in 25 languages.