Liev Schreiber doesn’t really get the credit he deserves. He found a TV role that suits him to a tee on Ray Donovan, he wrote and directed one of the best movies of 2005 in Everything Is Illuminated (and still hasn’t found a follow-up), and for every paycheck gig he takes like The 5th Wave, he does a smart, adult film like Best Picture winner Spotlight or the underrated chess drama Pawn Sacrifice.
Next up for the golden-throated tough guy is CHUCK, a biopic of boxer Chuck Wepner, who served as the inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky.
Wepner was a liquor salesman and father with a modest prizefighting career when his life changed overnight in 1975 after being chosen to take on Muhammad Ali in a highly-publicized heavyweight title match that, as legend has it, was witnessed by Stallone. The scrappy underdog ended up going 15 hard-fought rounds with Ali, becoming the pride of Bayonne, New Jersey in the process.
A refreshingly human tale of resilience and redemption, Chuck explores what happened when Wepner’s fleeting 15 minutes in the spotlight ended, and he went from exhilarating highs to humbling lows.
Schreiber is joined in the film by his real-life ex Naomi Watts, as well as Elisabeth Moss, Ron Perlman, Jim Gaffigan, Michael Rappaport, Morgan Spector and his Ray Donovan co-star Pooch Hall.
Philippe Falardeau (The Good Lie) directed Chuck, which IFC Films will release in theaters on May 5. Schreiber also produced the film with Christa Campbell and Lati Grobman, among others.
I happen to have some boxing experience myself (click here at your own risk), so I can’t wait to see Schreiber step into the ring. Win or lose, you can bet he’s going to bring his trademark intensity that has served him so well on Ray Donovan.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief