Few film genres are as deeply Latin American as luchador films. Starting with the crossover work of El Santo back in the 1960s, the cinematic adventures of masked wrestlers quickly became the Mexican equivalent of Marvel superhero films – only the phenomenon swept Latin America a full four decades before Marvel came to dominate Hollywood screens.
So the fact that the Dominican Republic is about to get its own take on the genre could be seen as an important milestone for a young industry that seems to be growing exponentially from one year to the next. But in this case, Veneno: Una Historia de Lucha isn’t a kitschy, supernatural adventure – it’s a fictionalized take on the life of iconic Dominican wrestler Jack Veneno directed by Tabaré Blanchard.
Appropriately, Veneno’s admirable career was actually inspired by El Santo’s filmography, but judging from a brand-new teaser, the three-part Veneno biography promises to be more Raging Bull than Las Momias de Guanajuato. Over the course of his 26-year career, Veneno became one of the Dominican Republic’s most beloved public figures and even broke into the mainstream with a series of high-profile bouts against Rick Flair in the early 1980s.
By the time he retired in 2000, Veneno had racked up championship belts in top leagues like the the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and the World Wrestling Council (WWC), and parlayed his fame into a failed run for mayor of a Santo Domingo municipality in 2006.
The wrestler will be played by Manny Perez alongside cast members Pepe Sierra (as Relámpago Hernández), Yamilé Scheker (as Doña Tatica), Richard Douglas, and Jaime Piña. Principal photography on the first installment in the trilogy began on November 17, 2016.
For a taste of what to expect from episode one El relámpago de Jack, check out the first teaser.