After receiving punch after punch of critical praise for the Oscar (cinema’s version of the water bottle and towel) winning Life of Pi, Ang Lee will turn to the world of boxing for his next cinematic adventure. He, together with producing partner James Schamus (the Mickey to Ang Lee’s Rocky, and CEO of Focus Features) will collaborate on an as-yet-untitled film that aims to bring the glitz and class of 1960s and 70s boxing to the silver screen by giving us the low-down on the era’s biggest characters and fights, including Muhammad Ali and Joe Fraser, whose fight was so popular and anticipated they named it the Thrilla in Manilla. Do you know how many boxing matches get special rhyming nicknames? Not many.
The film will be put out by Universal, and is scripted by Peter Morgan. He wrote the upcoming Ron Howard movie Rush and he also penned The Deal, Frost/Nixon, The Queen, and The Special Relationship, so yeah – you could say fictional imaginings of real-life events are kind of his bag.
The fights will be recreated in 3D, continuing the experimental spirit that 3D cinema seems to operate in nowadays, what with James Cameron’s deep sea expeditions and Werner Herzog’s 2011 exploration of the Chauvet cave in his film Cave of Forgotten Dreams. It’s an avenue that suits the format. It’ll also be really interesting to see how Ang Lee carves a story from amongst the barrel chests and muscles of those decades, and given his success with his previous film Brokeback Mountain, he should have no problem finding interesting ways of shooting men going at it one on one.
No further details than that I’m afraid, as the deal has only just been inked. It’s about time someone chronicled the history of the sport of kings or, at least, the sport of men punching each other really hard in the face and upper body. If anybody can make that somehow interesting, it’ll be Ang Lee. It doesn’t even have a title yet for Holyfield’s sake, so just quit with your endless questions. Isn’t it enough that Ang Lee is on board? Jeez.