If you've seen the trailer for xXx: Return of Xander Cage, there's a bit towards the end where, if you're a football fan, then your face will probably do a double-take that's so powerful, you could probably sue Paramount for causing excessive whiplash. Yes, it's that moment when you realise that Barcelona and Brazil football star, Neymar Jr., is actually in the film.
It's a left-field casting choice that is from such the leftest of left-fields, it would be no surprise if Bernie Sanders had pitched it himself. But it's not unusual for famous sports stars to try their hand at an acting career and of course, Hollywood studios love the fact that they can tap into an existing rabid fan-base, that will duly follow their athletic idol to even the lamest of cinematic outings.
Lets take a trip down that well-trodden path that takes someone from sporting greatness, to possible Hollywood mediocrity, with 7 of the most notable transitions.
Pro wrestling is perhaps the easiest, and most obvious, gateway sport for athletes to become actors. At its very nature, wrestling is all about performance and selling your character to the audience. This should mean, if you're successful at wrestling, it stands to reason you can be successful at acting, right? Well, let me tell you something Mean Gene: You're wrong, brother.
Being a massive star in the WWF and propelling wrestling to popular culture, the Hulkster attempted to run wild over Hollywood in the eighties and nineties, which began well with his 1982 debut as Thunderlips in Rocky III, but ended miserably with a guest appearance as himself on long-forgotten Brooke Shields sitcom, Suddenly Susan. Sandwiched somewhere in-between all this was Mr. Nanny, which if you have never watched (apart from THAT YouTube clip), you must do immediately. If only just to see the way that Hogan delivers the line "Dookie." Seriously, it's next level bonkers.
Hogan never quite managed to reach the startling acting heights that some of his wrestling proteges have now scaled. Wrestlers like The Rock and, uh, Stone Cold? No. The Miz? Definitely not. Cena? Kane? Santino Marella? Hmm. Maybe wrestlers working in films isn't the quick win it would at first appear to be. But damn, we'll always have Rowdy Roddy Piper in They Live to remind us of how it should be done.