Catch BIGGER streaming now
PRESS RELEASE: Monday 20 July 2020
Catch Bigger Streaming Now
Catch the pumping rags-to-riches story of fitness magazine and weightlifting visionaries Joe and Ben Weider in ‘Bigger’ streaming online now
Siblings Joe and Ben Weider overcame anti-Semitism, conventional wisdom and poverty to become fitness entrepreneurs and inspire future generations. Against all odds, the brothers launched the gym movement, created an empire, and discovered a bodybuilder named Arnold Schwarzenegger. Their story is brought to life in the inspiring new film ‘Bigger’, a biopic on the two bodybuilding pioneers. The film is available on Netflix from Friday, 17 July.
“A Jewish child of the Depression, Joe learnt to defend himself from schoolyard prejudice by strengthening his body, then turning the world on to the healthy effects of weight-training and bodybuilding, and ultimately creating a global fitness movement,” says Mayenzeke Baza, head of distribution and financing at film and television sales company AAA Entertainment, which bought the film for South Africa.
At the 2008 funeral of Joe Weider’s brother and business partner Ben (Aneurin Barnard), the elderly Joe (Robert Forster) agrees to tell his story to a journalist (DJ Qualls). From there it’s off to Montreal’s Jewish ghetto in the 1930s, where young Joe and Ben — who live under a severe, overworked mother (Nadine Lewington) — get into alley scraps over anti-Semitic slurs. When he sneaks into the circus, a leopard-skinned anvil-lifter sparks Joe’s interest, after which he starts lifting makeshift weights. In 1937, a newly bulked-up Joe (Tyler Hoechlin from adolescence on) wins his first strongman competition, and a diehard muscle man and health fanatic is born.
In his spare time, Joe draws idealised male figures and plots ‘the path to the perfect physique,’ which draws amused stares from some but encouragement from brother Ben.
When Joe’s first independently created magazine catches on, pushing against the era’s misperception that weight-training was dangerous for everyday people and professional athletes, interest from American publishers grows. Fictional character Bill Hauk (Kevin Durand) takes on the role of the bigoted villain of the film who is outraged by the expansion of Joe’s empire.
Julianne Hough plays the role of cover girl Betty Brosmer, whose knockout looks and committed gym regimen made her doubly attractive to Joe. She becomes his emotionally intelligent spouse with savvy business smarts and a sparkling personality.
Soon the Weider brothers are fully entrenched as titans of bodybuilding in Los Angeles — selling magazines, supplements, and weights to an ever-more fitness-conscious public. Then Joe discovers Arnold Schwarzenegger (Calum Von Hoger) – a protégé he uses to further expand his empire.
South Africans who remember our own Reg Park, famous for his mass and strength, will know that he was an early influence and lifelong mentor to champion bodybuilder Schwarzenegger, who said that he was inspired to become a bodybuilder after seeing Park. Long before apartheid was abolished, Park – who started the gym industry in South Africa – opened his gym to all and took the first black body builder from South Africa to compete in Mr Universe.
The film homes in on how Joe Weider saw the future — our untapped obsession with transformation turned toward our own physical beings — and made it his lifelong mission to evangelise a cult of the body.
“’Bigger’ is a motivation film about the Weider brothers and how they built a fitness industry despite dealing with poverty and racism,” says Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution. “It’s a moving tribute to two great entrepreneurs.”
‘Bigger’ is directed by George Gallo (Columbus Circle) and stars Tyler Hoechlin, Julianne Hough, and Calum Von Moger.
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