IFC has released the first trailer for its upcoming biopic Chuck, which is set to hit theaters on May 5. While many fans may not know Chuck Wepner by name, the New Jersey boxer served as the inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s iconic character Rocky Balboa. Liev Schreiber stars as Wepner, whose extraordinary true story is told for the first time on the big screen.
Chuck Wepner was a liquor salesman from New Jersey who went 15 rounds with the greatest boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali. In his ten years in the ring, Wepner endured two knockouts, eight broken noses, and 313 stitches. But his toughest fights were outside the ring: an epic life of drugs, booze, wild women, incredible highs and extraordinary lows in IFC’s biopic. Liev Schreiber is joined by an all-star cast that also includes Naomi Watts, Elisabeth Moss, Ron Perlman, Jim Gaffigan, Michael Rapaport and Pooch Hall, with Morgan Spector playing a young Sylvester Stallone. The actual fight between Chuck Wepner, a.k.a. The Bayonne Bleeder, took place on March 24, 1975, which Sylvester Stallone watched and used as the inspiration for his screenplay Rocky, although Sylvester Stallone originally denied that the movie was based on his fight with Muhammad Ali. In 2003, Chuck Wepner sued Sylvester Stallone for using his fight with Ali as the inspiration for Rocky, which Stallone settled for an undisclosed amount.
Philippe Falardeau directs from a screenplay by Jeff Feuerzeig, Jerry Stahl, Michael Cristofer and Liev Schreiber. Jerry Stahl is no stranger to biopics, with his memoir adapted into the 1998 film Permanent Midnight, where Ben Stiller portrayed the writer. This movie also marks the second screenwriting outing for Liev Schreiber, following the 2005 film Everything Is Illuminated, which also served as his directorial debut. Jeff Feuerzeig also helped bring Chuck Wepner’s story to light with the 2011 documentary The Real Rocky, which was part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 Films lineup.
Chuck is produced by Christa Campbell, Lati Grobman, Carl Hampe, Liev Schreiber and Michael Tollin. IFC Films has set a May 5 release date for this boxing biopic, although it hasn’t been revealed how wide a release it will receive. If it does get a wide release, this movie will find itself going toe-to-toe with the superhero adventure that kicks off the summer movie season, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Take a look at the first trailer and photos for Chuck below.