Movies about boxing are undergoing a miniature renaissance at the moment. Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen Jake Gyllenhaal getting the crap knocked out of him in Southpaw, Miles Teller training with a broken neck in Bleed for This, and Michael B. Jordan realizing he can go the distance in the excellent Creed. Now, Liev Schreiber is taking his turn in the ring, in Philippe Falardeau’s Chuck.
Once known as The Bleeder (in my opinion, a far superior title), Chuck is a biopic of New Jersey boxer Chuck Wepner. Wepner isn’t known primarily for his sporting achievements (though he did go fifteen rounds against Muhammed Ali), but because he’s the inspiration for Rocky Balboa. According to the synopsis, we’ll follow ‘the pride of Bayonne, New Jersey’ as he progresses from being a down-on-his-luck liquor salesman with a modest prizefighting career to being offered a shot at taking on Ali, the greatest boxer of all-time.
Judging by the trailer, the film will cover this bout and his subsequent involvement in the development of Rocky, with Morgan Spector appearing as a young pre-fame Stallone. Wepner takes full advantage of being “the real Rocky,” revelling in his own celebrity. Then, presumably, we get to see the effects of his hubris, which appears to take the form of him being forced to box an angry bear before a baying crowd. This’ll all be shored up by an impressive supporting cast including Ron Perlman, Naomi Watts, Elisabeth Moss and Michael Rapaport.
Hell, I’ll buy a ticket to see a man boxing a bear. Will you?