2023 is shaping up to be quite the year at the movies for fans of professional wrestling, with Zac Efron and Jeremy Allen White bulking up to portray the legendary Von Erichs wrestling dynasty in Sean Durkin’s A24 film “The Iron Claw.” But American entertainment wrestlers are not the only ones getting the cinematic treatment next year.
“Cassandro,” a new scripted film from Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Roger Ross Williams, tells the story of one of Mexican wrestling’s most unique heroes. Saúl Armendáriz was an American-born luchador wrestler who grew up near the U.S.-Mexican border in El Paso, Texas. As a young man with dreams of competing at the highest levels in wrestling, he soon moved to Mexico and began training in Ciudad Juarez. But while some thought his homosexuality would be a hindrance in such a machismo-driven industry, he soon rose to the top of the Mexican wrestling world by embracing a flamboyantly gay persona known as “Cassandro.” The character proved to be a huge hit with wrestling fans, and he eventually became the first foreign-born wrestler to win a world title.
Cassandro is considered an LGBT icon and a legend in the world of wrestling, so the film needed an actor with some serious pedigree to portray him. The role went to Gael Garcia Bernal, best known for playing Rodrigo De Souza in Prime Video’s classical music satire “Mozart in the Jungle.” The role earned him two Golden Globe nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy, winning in 2016.
The official synopsis for “Cassandro” reads: “Saúl Armendáriz, a gay amateur wrestler from El Paso, rises to international stardom after he creates the ‘exotico’ character Cassandro, the ‘Liberace of Lucha Libre.’ In the process, he upends not just the macho wrestling world, but also his own life.”
“Cassandro” is written and directed by Roger Ross Williams, working from a script he co-wrote with David Teague and Julian Herbert. The film stars Gael García Bernal, Roberta Colindrez, Perla De La Rosa, Joaquín Cosío, and Raúl Castillo.
“Cassandro” is set to stream on Prime Video in 2023.