Boxing fans will be familiar with actor Liev Schreiber; or at least they will be familiar with his voice. The film star regularly does the narration on HBO 24/7 countdown shows. Now, in a film that has been over five years in the making, Schreiber will appear as heavyweight brawler Chuck Wepner in the movie, “Chuck.”
First entitled “The Bleeder,” in reference to Wepner’s notoriously thin skin tissue; his nickname of course being “The Bayonne Bleeder,” the film has been re-titled and a first trailer has appeared. Work began on the flick back in late 2011, and the film finally wrapped in December of 2015 – 2015 marking the 40th anniversary of Wepner’s brave but ultimately doomed challenge of the great Muhammad Ali.
Screened at the 2016 Venice Film Festival, “Chuck” received good reviews. Fans have certainly waited long enough for the movie, and it is to be hoped it was worth it. Judging by the trailer and the Venice reviews, it will be. Schrieber has definitely done an excellent job in transforming himself into the somewhat battered and grizzled warrior. Sporting Wepner’s familiar moustache, Schrieber looks a dead-ringer for the slugger who inspired the “Rocky” story.
Some fans may groan about “yet another boxing film” being released, and with “Hands of Stone,” “Bleed For This” and “Southpaw” all being released quite recently, “Chuck” may suffer at the box-office. And what is there of the Wepner story that hasn’t already been told? Despite this, boxing diehards will most likely go and see the film (I certainly will). Wepner, a fighter who never had things easy (having to work a day job and train for a fight simultaneously; the sole exception being his fight with Ali – a fight promised and delivered by his promoter Don King) quite literally fought ’em all.
Ali, George Foreman, Sonny Liston, Buster Mathis, Joe Bugner, Ernie Terrell, Duane Bobick…..and the list goes on. Wepner sure has a story to tell, and the 78 year old deserves the Silver Screen treatment he has got. I wonder who will play Liston in the film, and Ali?
“Chuck” will be released in the US on May 5.