Comedy writer and director Stephen Merchant takes on the remarkable true story of young Paige from Norwich, who makes it as a WWE wrestler, for his new film Fighting with My Family.
The ever-excellent Florence Pugh takes on the role of Paige – real name Saraya-Jade Bevis – who is born into a family of wrestlers and whose parents have high hopes of her and her brother Zak making it to the top. All goes awry, however, when Paige makes it onto a training programme and her brother does not, causing a family breakdown and rifts to form and Paige to run into difficulties as she struggles to fit in.
It’s a classic underdog tale that brings the world of wrestling to a new audience, told by a brilliant cast alongside Pugh with a beefed up Jack Lowden as Zak, Nick Frost as father Ricky and appearances from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as well as Vince Vaughn.
We were there for the film’s UK premiere at BFI Southbank to catch some minutes with the cast, director and the real-life family the film is based on.
Florence Pugh spoke to us about the preparation she had to go through to do her own stunts and play a wrestler, the pressure of playing a living person and what she hopes people will take away from the film.
The epically tall Stephen Merchant explained how he had little knowledge of WWE prior to this project but fell in love with the family’s story, the challenges of pulling off some of the most epic scenes and the brilliance of Florence Pugh.
Jack Lowden talked us through needing to bulk up to play Zak, working with Stephen Merchant and Florence Pugh and what it was like to meet Dwayne Johnson aka “The Rock”.
The real Paige also stopped to speak with us about how it felt to have her story up on the screen and how she hopes her underdog tale of success will inspire others.
Zak Zodiac told us about his own reflections on their family’s story and how watching the film back always tears him up.
Sweet Saraya and Ricky Knight, Paige’s real parents, told us how they see their story and what it was was like to see actors play them on screen.
By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 26th February 2019.
Photo: Joanne Davidson
Videos: Marta Starczynowska
Fighting with my Family is released nationwide on 1st March 2019.
Watch the trailer for Fighting with My Family here: