Fitness personality and television icon Jack LaLanne is getting the biopic treatment, both in non-fiction and narrative forms.
Mark Wahlberg and his Unrealistic Ideas banner will partner with Wonderfilm Media and LaLanne’s widow Elaine and the LaLanne family on a documentary feature and a narrative film about the fitness pioneer.
Before wellness was christened an industry and fitness deemed a lifestyle, LaLanne was an exercise and nutrition guru. After opening a gym in Oakland in the 1930s (often credited as the nation’s first fitness club), he began to evangelize the benefits of personal health, later hosting the fitness TV show The Jack LaLanne Show from 1951 to 1985. A longtime bodybuilder, LaLanne also became synonymous with his feats of strength, including at 60-years-old swimming to Alcatraz while handcuffed.
“It doesn’t matter where you go, there is a health club and it all started with Jack LaLanne,” said bodybuilder turned actor Arnold Schwarzenegger after LaLanne’s death in 2011 at the age of 96.
The doc about LaLanne is already in production, while Scot Armstrong, the writer behind comedies Old School, Semi-Pro and The Hangover Part II, has been tapped the pen the movie, which is eying a spring 2024 production start.
Elaine “LaLa” LaLanne said, “When Mark Wahlberg first came to visit with me, I recognized the parallels between Jack and Mark. I believed he and his company were the right ones to bring Jack’s legacy forward. After meeting with [Wonderfilm’s] Jeff and Bret, I knew we had the perfect team.”
Producers for the documentary and scripted feature include Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Archie Gips for Unrealistic Ideas and Jeff Bowler and Bret Saxon for Wonderfilm. Also producing are RD Robb and Elaine, Dan, John and Yvonne LaLanne.
“Jack revolutionized America’s health and fitness culture,” added Unrealistic Ideas president Gips. “Working with Elaine and the LaLanne family, as well as the thousands of hours of archival material at our disposal, we will be able to tell the authentic, deeply personal, and definitive story of Jack LaLanne.”
“Jack’s story is so inspiring. His journey grabs at your heart and exemplifies the triumphs of the human spirit when driven and focused,” said Wonderfilm’s Saxon and Bowler. “Jack was a pop culture icon, but there is so much more about the man the world doesn’t know that both these projects will explore.”
Wonderfilm and Armstrong are represented by UTA. Unrealistic Ideas is represented by WME.