Rocky. Rocky II. Rocky III. Rocky IV….I could keep going and somehow we’ll end with Creed, but that doesn’t matter. What does, however, is who Rocky was inspired after, and what that man has to lay claim to fame.
Chuck Wepner is his name. He’s the man that went fifteen rounds in the ring with the man of the hour, Muhammad Ali. Chuck also happens to be the name of the new film coming out about his life in and out of the ring and show business. Directed by Philippe Falardeau (who had previously directed The Good Lie), the film stars Liev Schreiber as Chuck Wepner, Naomi Watts as Linda, Elisabeth Moss as Phyliss, Jim Gaffigan as John, and Ron Perlman as Al Braverman.
Of course, since this is a dramatic version of real life events, it wouldn’t be a film without having Sylvester Stallone in there asking Wepner to let him make the Rocky franchise. Stallone is played by up and coming star Morgan Spector (who previously starred in Allegiance) all the while Muhammad Ali is played by Pooch Hall, who also plays Schreiber’s half-brother in the hit series Ray Donovan.
At the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, we had the chance to speak with Hall as well as Wepner about the film and what it meant to be playing such prominent characters (Wepner, a whole movie franchise built after him, Hall, one of the greatest boxers in history). We also had the chance to speak with Falardeau on directing the film, including how he chose to recreate second by second the fight scenes between Wepner and Ali and other contenders. The cast and crew describe this as a Cinderella Man meets Raging Bull in the manner it is shot, and that only is proven after our interview with the composer of the film, Corey Allen Jackson. Check out our interviews below.
Corey Allen Jackson: