You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

UFC Fighter Evan Tanner Biopic ‘The Power of 1’ in the Works (EXCLUSIVE)

Producers Christopher Scheimann and Olcun Tan have partnered with top sports director Bobby Razak on “The Power of 1,” a feature biopic of UFC fighter Evan Tanner. Co-written by Scheimann and Razak, the movie is slated to go into pre-production toward the end of this year, with principal photography planned for early next year.

Tanner, a pioneer in the sport and winner of the UFC’s middleweight title in 2005, died under tragic circumstances in 2008 while on a solo expedition deep into the California desert. He taught himself to fight at a championship level via instructional videotapes, and went on to revolutionize the sport with his innovative approach. He was reluctant to identify himself as merely a fighter. “I always thought of myself as the poet, the writer or the philosopher,” he said.

The audience for UFC-related content has been on the rise since the league was sold to WME in 2016 and ESPN acquired its linear, streaming and PPV rights. Razak, one of the most established directors in action sports, directed a documentary short on Tanner’s death, titled “1,” which provides the starting point for the production team’s approach to the feature.

Razak said Tanner “was an incredible human being, and it’s important to me to make a film that would dispel the myth that he committed suicide. Like any of us, he had his dark days, but the truth is that he was a man genuinely in love with life and its possibilities. Being able to tell the stories of the fighters who helped build the UFC — while also being true to who they were as people — is essential for this sport’s history.”

Razak’s film “Right of Passage” played at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals, and he most recently produced and directed the feature documentary “Mask,” chronicling the life and death of TapOut founder and early MMA pioneer Charles “Mask” Lewis. With more than 150 commercials to his credit, Razak has also directed or produced more than 12 features and short films, including “The Striking Truth,” “Fallen Solider,” “Sangre Nueva” and “The History of MMA.”

Scheimann, a German-based producer known for assembling high-end commercial spots for brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Coca-Cola and BMW, first partnered with Razak on a project for Europe’s largest fitness corporation, McFIT, featuring heavyweight boxing champions Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko. Scheimann, who makes his debut as a feature producer with “The Power of 1,” will produce alongside Tan, owner of post/FX houses Gradient Effects and Secret Lab, with Gradient Effects handling post-production and VFX for the project.

“Bobby’s original short doc on Evan was spellbinding, though it only really touched the surface of the story of Tanner’s life and the final days that led to his mysterious death,” Scheimann said. “Bobby is a premier director in the commercial and action sports worlds. Coming from the commercial world myself, I always wanted to do a long format film. It couldn’t get better than starting off with a story and a team like this. This is a story that needs to be told.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • 4127_D022_00003_RC(l-r.) Elizabeth McGovern stars as Lady

    Box Office: 'Downton Abbey' Dominating 'Ad Astra,' 'Rambo' With $31 Million Opening

    “Downton Abbey” is heading for a positively brilliant opening weekend after scoring $13.8 million in domestic ticket sales on Friday. If estimates hold, the feature film version of the popular British television show should take home approximately $31 million come Sunday, marking the biggest opening ever for distributor Focus Features and beating previous record holder [...]

  • Gully Boy to represent India in

    'Gully Boy' to Represent India In Oscars Race

    The Film Federation of India has chosen Zoya Akhtar’s “Gully Boy” as its entry in the Academy Awards’ international feature film category. The picture, a coming of age tale about an aspiring rapper in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum premiered at the Berlin film festival in February before opening to a wave of acclaim at home in [...]

  • Lucy-Lost

    Cartoon Forum: 30th Anniversary, Little Giants and New Generations

    TOULOUSE, France –  Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Cartoon Forum wrapped Sept. 19 having showcased the ever-growing strength of European animation. 85 projects were pitched from 24 countries at the co-production forum platform that played host to north of 1,000 investors, distributors and producers – a record number. Falling on French-speaking Belgium – Wallonie-Bruxelles – whose [...]

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • 'Downton Abbey' Music Gets 'Bigger, Better,

    As 'Downton Abbey' Hits the Silver Screen, the Music, Too, Gets 'Bigger, Better, Grander'

    When “Downton Abbey” fans hear that familiar strings-and-piano theme, a Pavlovian response ensues: Get to the television immediately, because you don’t want to miss a minute of the addictive Crawley family melodrama to follow. This week, with the “Downton Abbey” movie reaching theaters on Friday, fans can’t wait for their fix of Lady Mary and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content