Though the sport of boxing isn’t nearly as much in the cultural zeitgeist now as it was when the Rocky films were at their peak, director David O. Russell proved with The Fighter that modern audiences will still turn out for a boxing movie under the right circumstances.
Writer/director Ben Younger (Boiler Room, Prime) hopes to draw the same kinds of crowds with his new film Bleed For This, a true story which will star Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart. ComingSoon says Teller will play Vinny Pazienza, a boxer who gained fame for defeating the undefeated champ Gilbert Dele, but suffered a near-fatal car accident and was told he would never walk again. After months of recovery and against doctors’ orders, Vinny returned to the gym under infamous trainer Kevin Rooney (Eckhart), and made a triumphant return to the ring just over a year after the accident.
Aside from appearing in That Awkward Moment (which, if critical reaction is anything to go by, we all might want to forget exists), Teller broke out in a big way in last year’s fantastic drama The Spectacular Now opposite Shailene Woodley. He reunites with Woodley in Divergent later this year, and he also stars in Whiplash, an indie film that just won the audience and grand jury prizes at this year’s Sundance Film Festival (read Kate Erbland’s review here). Eckhart has been around a lot longer, obviously, but he could still use a hit after I, Frankenstein turned out the way it did.
I like the idea of pairing these guys up for a story like this, but there’s one other piece of news regarding this project that’s worth sharing. Martin Scorsese, who directed one of the most iconic boxing films of all time (Raging Bull), is on board as an executive producer. Granted, Scorsese’s a busy guy – he’s directing a new movie called Silence – but having the man responsible for Raging Bull involved with your boxing movie must be a pretty good feeling.
Do you think the charismatic Teller will be convincing as a boxer? What about Eckhart as a trainer? Let us know in the comments below.
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