Wrestlers hate the word fake. Just ask Evan Ginzburg, the associate producer of 350 Days.
Ginzburg is more than excited for the upcoming release of his latest project. 350 Days is a professional wrestling documentary starring Bret “Hitman” Hart, “Superstar” Billy Graham, Lex Luger, “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase, and countless other legendary figures in the wild world of professional wrestling. He recently sat down with Still Real To Us to discuss what went into making the film, which will be released in over 400 movie theaters on July 12.
“The wrestlers will go, ‘My hip replacement wasn’t fake. My bad back wasn’t fake. My knee replacement wasn’t fake. My three divorces weren’t fake. My kids not talking to me because I was never around isn’t fake.’ They don’t like that word fake, and I don’t blame them,” says Ginzburg. “Pain is not fake. There has been a long trail of over 150 wrestlers who have died before their time–including friends of mine.”
Ginzburg is as real as they come. The friendly Brooklyn native surrounded himself in the wrestling business for decades, and has the outrageous stories to prove it. His involvement with 350 Days wasn’t his first time on a film set either. One of his biggest claims to fame included being the Associate Producer of Darren Aronofsky’s 2008 critically acclaimed film, The Wrestler. The movie successfully relaunched the career of Mickey Rourke, while featuring a variety of beloved professional wrestlers throughout the industry, including current World Wrestling Entertainment superstar R-Truth.
“I was the wrestling guy. I brought in the Necro Butcher. I brought in Mickey Rourke’s stunt double. His trainer. The ring. I did five or six casting calls. Anything wrestling related was my job on the movie,” Ginzburg fondly recalls of his experience.
In addition to handling all of the complicated behind-the-scenes details, Ginzburg would also find himself making a spectacular cameo in the captivating sports drama. Aronofsky put Ginzburg to the ultimate test, and asked him to come out of the shadows to perform in The Wrestler. It was the associate producer’s first time being in front of a movie camera. His scene parter? The film’s lead actor: Mickey Rourke.
“Mickey whispered in my ear, ‘Just improv it.’ He thought I was an actor! I never acted in my life. I did exactly as Aronofsky said. I went up to Mickey, thinking about what to say, because we are improving,” Ginzburg laughs. “I say to him as I would say to any legendary wrestler, ‘I loved you as a kid. I saw you at the [Madison Square] Garden back in the day. Can I have your autograph?’ He goes, ‘What’s your name?’ I said, ‘Evan.’ It later dawned on me that I was playing myself in a fictional movie. It was surreal to me.”
Taking his once-in-a-lifetime experience from working on The Wrestler, Ginzburg began to craft 350 Days. Besides using his extensive contacts by being an upstanding agent with a great reputation in the business, Ginzburg was able to secure the last ever interviews from wrestling icons George “The Animal” Steele and “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka.
“the wrestling business operates on the ‘six degrees of separation’ rule. Everybody knows everybody. Fortunately, people go, ‘Evan’s okay. He’s honest.'”
One by one, the wrestlers came on board to 350 Days. Ginzburg explains to Still Real To Us that talking to personal friends for the documentary, including Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Nikolai Volkoff, was a different kind of undertaking this time around. Being warmly welcomed into the wrestlers’ apartments and hotel rooms allowed for honest, and intimate conversations that normally can’t be found in the standard shoot interviews that are commonplace on YouTube.
“In this movie, they are opening up. It’s almost like a therapist’s couch,” recalls Ginzburg. “They tell you things like, ‘I was on the road, 350 days a year. I wasn’t faithful to my wife from day one. I wasn’t home for Christmas; I was working Starrcade. I wasn’t home for Thanksgiving; I was working Survivor Series. I wasn’t home for my kid’s graduation. I wasn’t home for my kid’s birth.’ Really, the guilt and the pain would all come out.”
Ginzburg assures that 350 Days isn’t a production where the camera is set up on the subject’s face for two hours in a dingy hotel room. The film captures the harsh realities of being a survivor in a brutal environment that tests the endurance of the larger-than-life athletes on a daily basis.
“These guys will tell you all about the good, the bad, and the ugly. The sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. The physical toll. The emotional toll. The toll, period, of being away from your family, year after year.”
You can learn more about 350 Days by visiting the official Facebook page.