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VICE TV TO AIR THE FIRST EVER DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE ENIGMATIC RISE AND FALL OF WRESTLING LEGEND CHYNA
VICE VERSA: Chyna features never-before-seen footage from Chyna’s last days and exclusive interviews with family members and insiders who are speaking for the first time.
It airs Thursday June 17th @ 9 pm ET/PT on VICE TV
BROOKLYN, NY (June 4, 2021)– VICE TV, America’s fastest growing entertainment cable network, announced today the upcoming premiere of VICE VERSA: Chyna, the authorized and first ever documentary about the rise and fall of one of wrestling’s most fascinating figures whose life was tragically cut short in 2016 following a fatal overdose. Directed by Sunshine Superman’s Marah Strauch, VICE VERSA: Chyna is the definitive account of the wrestling phenom’s life. It shares an in-depth look at what it is to be famous in America, weaving a narrative of betrayal and addiction untreated while revealing an intimate portrait of a complicated woman. The two-hour documentary will premiere Thursday June 17th @ 9 pm ET/PT on VICE TV.
She was billed “The Ninth Wonder of the World”- Joanie Laurer aka Chyna. As a World Wrestling Federation star (now World Wrestling Entertainment aka WWE), Chyna was a seemingly unstoppable force, an Amazonian warrior who went where women were not supposed to go, smashing through the glass ceiling and slaying her opponents. But after her abrupt dismissal from the WWE and losing the rights to her name, Chyna’s world slowly began to crumble. Attempting to navigate the loss of her career as well as cope with unhealed childhood trauma, drugs entered the star’s life. Chyna pivoted to participating in reality shows such as The Surreal Life and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, released adult movies, taught English in Japan and joined the Mormon church.
In 2015, Chyna’s close circle began filming the star with the intent of making a documentary called The Reconstruction of Chyna. The film was meant to be her epic comeback, capturing the reunion between Chyna and her estranged mother, an exotic spiritual journey and her pursuit to be inducted in The WWE Hall of Fame, but Chyna passed away during filming and the project was never completed. As VICE VERSA: Chyna will reveal, those in her inner circle had their own interests and demons that were in play as well.
“Joanie aka Chyna’s meteoric rise and fall is the stuff of Shakespearian drama, but underneath all that flash, she was an intelligent and sensitive person who struggled with addiction,” said VICE VERSA: Chyna director Marah Strauch. “This documentary will give viewers an intimate and unfiltered view of her personal journey as a pop culture icon and beyond and will compassionately tell the true story of Chyna’s last year of life.”
Viewers will have unprecedented access to exclusive videos from Chyna’s last year of her life, salvaged footage from the abandoned documentary as well as interviews from insiders in Chyna’s life including her sister Kathy Hamilton; her mother Jan LaQue; Chyna’s former fiancé and WWE Hall of Famer Sean Waltman; renowned wrestling star and friend Mick Foley; noted addiction medicine specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky, who treated Chyna during ‘Celebrity Rehab’ and worked to get her treatment during her final year; celebrated wrestler Billy Gunn; noted wrestling pundit Vincent Russo; and many close confidants and members of Chyna’s inner circle who spent her last year with her.
“I participated in this documentary because, as Joanie’s mom, it was important to me to have the opportunity to tell my side of the story,” said Chyna’s mother Jan LaQue. “Joanie was an awesome human being not only in the ring but, more importantly, beyond the ring. She was a wonderful person. Joanie’s story is important to tell because people should know the vast extent her life’s positive impact had on so many others. Her gentle, loving and caring way was astounding despite the inner grief and sadness she carried at the same time.”
VICE VERSA: Chyna is part of VICE TV’s VICE VERSA strand, a series of independent documentary specials that serve as a hub for compelling storytelling that challenges the status quo. Other specials under the banner include VICE VERSA: College $ports, Inc. where former Olympian, NFL star, and NCAA athlete Jeremy Bloom investigates the NCAA’s mistreatment of its student athletes (premieres June 9th @ 9 pm ET/PT); VICE VERSA: The Neglected Pandemic, 40 Years of HIV & AIDS, a comprehensive look at what it is to be HIV positive in the USA in 2021 narrated by ‘Queer Eye’ star Jonathan Van Ness; and VICE VERSA: Meghan Markle Escaping The Crown, which explored if institutionalized racism drove the U.K’s first black princess to flee the crown.
“With the critical acclaim and success of our hit series, Dark Side of the Ring, we wanted to expand our wrestling content through this installment of VICE VERSA” said Catherine Whyte, Executive Vice President & Head of Production, VICE TV. “VICE TV is known for its fearless approach to storytelling and giving voice to stories no one else will. Chyna’s story is so powerful- she was a disruptor and an icon. While some may have prefered Chyna’s last days remain in the past, VICE TV will continue to shine a light on stories others are afraid to tell.”
VICE VERSA: Chyna Inc is produced by Citizen Skull and Rock Salt Releasing. Executive producers are Daisy Hamilton and Mark Myers. Produced and directed by Marah Strauch. Co-producer is Eric Bruggemann. Executive producer for VICE TV is Catherine Whyte. Senior Development Manager for VICE TV is Tara Nadolny. The documentary is distributed worldwide by VICE Distribution.
VICE TV is available via all major satellite and cable providers and the VICE TV app via iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast. For more information about VICE TV, go to VICETV.com
ABOUT VICE TV
VICE TV is the Emmy®-winning international television network from VICE Media Group. Since its inception in 2016, the channel has ushered new audiences to cable with its compelling and provocative programming. Boldly redefining news and current affairs, VICE TV produces hundreds of hours of original content for over 150 million homes worldwide. Built around a mission to tell courageous stories you won’t see anywhere else, told by the people you won’t hear from anywhere else, VICE TV showcases the best in informative and entertaining original series, documentaries and movies, and is the destination for content that challenges popular knowledge and opinion.
ABOUT VICE MEDIA GROUP
VICE Media Group is the world’s largest independent youth media company. Launched in 1994, VICE has offices in 35 cities across the globe with a focus on five key businesses: VICE.com, an award-winning international network of digital content; VICE STUDIOS, a feature film and television production studio; VICE TV, an Emmy-winning international television network; a Peabody award-winning NEWS division with the most Emmy-awarded nightly news broadcast; and VIRTUE, a global, full-service creative agency with 25 offices around the world. VICE Media Group’s portfolio includes Refinery29, the leading global media and entertainment company focused on women; Pulse Films, a London-based next-generation production studio with outposts in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Berlin; and i-D, a global digital and quarterly magazine defining fashion and contemporary culture.
ABOUT CITIZEN SKULL
Current projects include IN THE CARDS (TRIBECA 2021) STREET GANG (SUNDANCE 2021) for HBO, COLLISION for NETFLIX and a yet to be announced narrative limited series in the UK. Recently completed features include THE OAK ROOM (premiering at Fantasia 2020) and VICIOUS FUN (premiering at Sitges 2020). Past films include the indie FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY, starring Sherilyn Fenn, 7 SPLINTERS IN TIME, starring Austin Pendleton, MEXMAN (Slamdance 2018 premier), HEARTTHROB (NETFLIX), 12 FEET DEEP (AMAZON PRIME), with Tobin Bell (SAW), MANSON FAMILY VACATION (SXSW 2015 premier, NETFLIX), and EXPERIMENTER, with Winona Ryder (Sundance 2015 premier, NETFLIX). Past TV projects include THE POND STARS for NAT GEO WILD and MOTHER OF THE BRIDE for Canada’s SLICE NETWORK.
ABOUT ROCK SALT RELEASING
Started in 2018, Rock Salt Releasing develops and curates artistic, award winning auteur films, documentaries, and doc-series. The company is committed to furthering female voices, and telling complex stories. Along with production, Rock Salt Releasing distributes films in North America and pre-sells packages internationally. Founded by: Daisy Hamilton Visit: https://www.rocksaltreleasing.com/.
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