For Mauro Ranallo, “Bipolar Rock ‘N Roller” is not so much a documentary on his life as it is a public service announcement.
Showtime Sports is set to release the film on Friday. It explores the renowned sports broadcaster's lifelong battle with mental illness and his parallel rise to becoming one of the top commentators in combat sports and professional wrestling.
It includes raw footage of Ranallo, 48, suffering from mental breakdowns, caused by bipolar disorder. There are clips of him half-naked and sobbing. Lashing out at the camera operator, whom he considers a “dear friend.” Comments about suicide.
It's ugly, at times, which is what Ranallo wanted. It documents the reality of his struggle — but also his success, in spite of it.
And what he hopes that ultimately translates to — hope.
“This is who I am, and people are still paying me good money for my talents,” Ranallo told ESPN. “So there is going to be someone out there who watches this and says, ‘Wow, I didn't know.' They're going to have a wife dealing with it, or a brother. They're going to be a banker, a doctor or a military vet. Every walk of life. And they're going to say, ‘Maybe if he has a chance to handle it, then I have a chance to handle it.'…