Released in 1993 and starring a then unknown Jennifer Aniston, the horror movie Leprechaun was a surprising hit and spawned five sequels where the title character (played by Warwick Davis) wrecked havoc and cracked wise in such locations as Las Vegas, space, and “the hood.. Although definitely outshined by other horror franchises, the Leprechaun series is a cheesy guilty pleasure for a lot of people and does have its fans, one that Lionsgate is hoping to lure in.
Variety reports that the studio is going ahead with a reboot of Leprechaun and they are going halfsies with an unlikely partner: WWE Studios, the film wing of World Wrestling Entertainment, the biggest wrestling promotion in the world. The two companies will cover production costs and team together to market the movie, although Lionsgate will obviously be handling distribution.
Leprechaun is being eyed for a 2013 release, and while there is no talent attached (directors, writers, actors, etc.), it just so happens that the WWE has someone under contract who is tailor-made to star. Meet Hornswoggle.
For those of you who don’t watch wrestling (or pretend not to because you think you’re above it), Hornswoggle is essentially WWE’s own Leprechaun but far more cheery and less talkative. While he did receive a lot of air time in the beginning, including playing WWE owner Vince McMahon‘s illegitimate son in a storyline, nowadays he just shows up for comedy purposes at random times. I’m not saying that he’s guaranteed to be the lead, but you’ve got to wonder why WWE Studios would partner with Lionsgate on a Leprechaun remake if they didn’t have Hornswoggle in mind to at least show up in it. At the very least, he and the new Leprechaun lead will probably have a match on one of their many television shows to promote its release. We’ve got that to look forward to wrestling fans; another potentially stupid storyline that will make pro wrestling hard to defend.
Leprechaun will be the third time Lionsgate and WWE Studios have teamed up; the two previously released See No Evil (starring WWE superstar Kane) and The Condemned (starring WWE legend/direct to video star “Stone Cold” Steve Austin). This new partnership not only includes Leprechaun but another yet to be named movie in the future. Meanwhile WWE Studios has a whole host of direct-to-DVD movies coming out starring their wrestlers as well as The Day which premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and was quickly bought up by WWE Studios chief Michael Luis, who took control of the division back in September and has been working on acquiring movies from film festivals since then.
It’ll be interesting to see which tone the new Leprechaun takes. The original 1993 movie was pure horror but as the franchise continued, it became more comedy-based (and for the better). Will the new one attempt to bring it back to its horror roots or will it stay more farcical? I’m thinking more the latter, especially considering the WWE caters to a younger demographic these days than it did back when See No Evil and The Condemned were released. Either way I’m sure this news has probably pissed someone off and I apologize for that.
Is a new Leprechaun really necessary?