Chuck Wepner, the "Bayonne Bleeder," he was the pride of Bayonne, New Jersey, a man who went fifteen rounds in the ring with Muhammad Ali, and the real life inspiration for Rocky Balboa. But before all that, Chuck Wepner was a liquor salesman and father with a modest prizefighting career whose life changed overnight when, in 1975, he was chosen to take on The Greatest in a highly publicized title match. It's the beginning of a wild ride through the exhilarating highs and humbling lows of sudden fame-but what happens when your fifteen minutes in the spotlight are up?Written by
Liev Schreiber, unlike his character Chuck Wepner, does have a role in the "Rocky" franchise. He assumes his real-life role as the narrator of HBO Sports Documentaries in the film "Creed", a spin-off of Rocky's saga. See more »
Chuck Wepner served his prison time in East Jersey State Prison in Rahway, NJ, not Northern State Prison in Newark, NJ, as depicted in the movie. This is where he met Sylvester Stallone while filming "Lock Up" in 1989. See more »
What good was backing up gonna do? Look, my thing was this: I couldn't hit him, so I figured I'd wear him down with my face. It was working great for five or six rounds...
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Fascinating Background on "Rocky", Led by Great Performances
The first thing Chuck did right was it allowed me to be immersed into this world. The film takes place in the 60's and 70's, and I felt like I was right there! Everything from the costumes to the production design to being made on film, it all worked to create a very vintage look. I felt like I was right with these characters, and I think all the time and care that went into crafting the look of the film needs to be recognized. To take it a step further, the performances are what ultimately sold me. Sure, everything looked gorgeous and vintage, but I was not watching actors; I was watching characters. And that was key in selling me on this world they were displaying. Schrieber is fantastic in this movie! This may be the strongest performance I've seen him give. He, and everyone else too, was almost unrecognizable. This character could easily have been played as one-note, but Schrieber brought so many different layers to him. You understand that he's a really despicable guy, but Schrieber lets you see that he's really a broken man who has lost his way. You're not exactly sure whether Chuck is the protagonist or the antagonist, but it's the subtlety of Schrieber's acting that really lets you buy into this complex character.
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