Actor Gael García Bernal is set to play Cassandro (aka Saúl Armendáriz), the gay El Paso-born Mexican wrestler who worked as an exótico (a male wrestler who competes in drag) and became a former NWA World Welterweight and UWA World Lightweight Champion, in a new biopic by filmmaker Roger Ross Williams.
Deadline reports: “Armendáriz at the age of 15 quit school and began training for Lucha Libre, beginning his professional wrestling career in 1988 under the mask as Mister Romano. Ultimately he would abandon the character and take on the exotico character of Baby Sharon. … Ultimately, Armendáriz would take the new ring name of Cassandro, from a Tijuana brothel keeper Cassandra whom he appreciated. In January 1991, after bad press that he was going to wrestle El Hijo del Santo in the UWA World Welterweight Championship, Armendáriz reportedly attempted suicide by cutting his wrists with a razor blade, but was saved. The title match occurred a week later and Armendáriz credits it as the match that earned him the lucha libre community’s acceptance.”
Filming is expected to begin after Bernal stars in M. Night Shyamalan’s untitled new film from Universal.
Cassandro was the subject of a 2018 documentary. Here’s the trailer.