Movie about Rich Franklin in the works

Former UFC champion Rich Franklin celebrates a victory. (QMI Agency)

Former UFC champion Rich Franklin celebrates a victory. (QMI Agency)

Neil Springer, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:49 PM ET

Imagine sitting in a dark movie theatre as images begin to flicker on the screen ahead.

But the events unfolding on the screen aren’t the typical Hollywood drivel. There are no rapping robots or migraine-inducing 3D effects. Instead, you’re being treated to your own life story. The only difference is that’s not you up there. You’re being played by someone famous.

Rich Franklin is bracing himself for this surreal experience.

In July, the former UFC middleweight champion sold the film rights to his life to Double E Pictures. American Fighter will tell the story of how the math teacher turned MMA fighter became one of the biggest names in UFC history.

Put Franklin in the cage with an elite fighter and he’ll feel right at home, but make him watch his own biopic and he’s not quite sure what to expect.

“It’s just weird when you start thinking about someone playing you in a movie,” Franklin told QMI Agency while in Toronto to meet fans at the CNE.

“The movie company, they have the rights, so they could theoretically do whatever they want. There are some stipulations. They can’t paint me out as an alcoholic when I don’t even drink and there are other stipulations that would somewhat guard my reputation.

“They own the rights, so they can do whatever they want. But I hope that I’m involved as much as possible. Especially in the developmental side of things because when it’s a movie about your life, you want things to be as close to the truth as possible.”

On top of accurately portraying his story, Franklin said he hopes the flick respects the sport of MMA.

“I said it to the production company when we talked about it — I said I’m just really interested in making a good movie about mixed martial arts that MMA fans and MMA practitioners can walk away and say, ‘Yeah, that was the real deal,’” Franklin began.

“When a firefighter saw Backdraft or when people in the Navy watched Top Gun and they see certain crap that’s in those movies, they just have to laugh and say they’re nothing like real life. I’m not only interested in making a movie that’s true to my life, but true to my profession as well.”

The film is still in the early stages, so no casting decisions have been announced. But UFC commentator Joe Rogan has often joked about Franklin’s resemblance to Jim Carrey. Now that a film is actually in the works, Franklin is being bombarded with even more cracks regarding the Ace Ventura actor.

“Oh absolutely. Fans are all over my Twitter talking about how Jim Carrey should play me,” Franklin said. “It’s funny … you have people tell you that you look like certain kinds of people and stuff like that. I’ve always been told I kind of look like Seann William Scott a little bit. I’ve had people tell me that, so I could almost picture him. He’s got a bit of an athletic build and I could always picture him playing that sort of role.

“When you talk to people in the movie-making business, I’ve heard some people say that Ryan Reynolds would be a good a person to play my part.”

As for his fighting career, Franklin has nothing lined up at the moment. He was set to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 133 last month, but the Brazilian injured his shoulder and Franklin was eventually removed from the event altogether.

Recent speculation suggested the two could still fight soon, or that a showdown with Tito Ortiz is in the works. Franklin said none of this is true at the moment.

“It always seems to be like the rumour of the week,” Franklin said. “I haven’t been able to address any of these Tito rumours with anybody at the UFC yet. I was on vacation this whole last week and everything — and I actually came straight to Toronto from my trip — so I’m still out of the country without service on my cell. This will be something that I take care of when I get back home.

“But no. There were rumours of me possibly fighting Nog still, perhaps in November. Nothing was ever discussed about that between myself and the UFC. That was two weeks ago and then this week this rumour pops up about Tito and I. Like I said, it just seems to be whatever rumour is popular this week and I’ll discuss that stuff with Dana (White).”

Since Franklin’s schedule is booked with a number of obligations outside of competing, he wouldn’t be ready to fight again until December at the earlier anyway. The timing could be right for an appearance on the UFC 140 card at the Air Canada Centre.

“That could be a possibility; I’d have to look at my schedule,” Franklin said. “I don’t know if I’d be able to fit a good camp in by then or not.

“I’ve always loved fighting in Canada. I have a great fan base here. I love fighting in Canada — I’ve fought in Montreal before and then, of course, Vancouver. So I would love to fight here in Toronto.

“I’m 3-0 in Canada – that seems attractive.”

 


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