Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Philippe Falardeau|
|Music by||Corey Allen Jackson|
|Edited by||Richard Comeau|
|Distributed by||IFC Films|
Chuck (The Bleeder in the UK and Ireland) is a 2016 American biographical sports drama film directed by Philippe Falardeau and written by Jeff Feuerzeig, Jerry Stahl, Michael Cristofer and Liev Schreiber, who also stars in the title role. The cast includes Elisabeth Moss, Ron Perlman, Naomi Watts, Jim Gaffigan, Michael Rapaport, Pooch Hall, Morgan Spector, and Jason Jones. The film depicts the life of heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner and his 1975 title fight with the heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali, which inspired Sylvester Stallone's character and screenplay for the 1976 film Rocky.
Principal photography began on October 26, 2015 in Suffern, New York. Chuck received its world premiere at the 2016 Venice Film Festival on September 2, 2016. It was released May 5, 2017, by IFC Films.
- Liev Schreiber as Chuck Wepner, a heavyweight boxer.
- Angel Kolev as Young Chuck Wepner 18 years old
- Naomi Watts as Linda, Wepner's third wife.
- Elisabeth Moss as Phyllis, Wepner's second wife.
- Jim Gaffigan as John Stoehr, Wepner's best friend.
- Michael Rapaport as Don Wepner, Wepner's estranged brother.
- Boyan Bankov as Young Don 18 years old
- Pooch Hall as Muhammad Ali, the heavyweight champion whose 1975 fight earned a sudden fame for Wepner.
- Morgan Spector as Sylvester Stallone, the actor-screenwriter who wrote Rocky right after the 1975 fight.
- Ron Perlman as Al Braverman, Wepner's manager and trainer who guided him to the fight with Ali.
- Kelvin Hale as Charlie Polite, Wepner's training partner for the Ali fight.
- Jason Jones as Arty
- William Hill as Paddy Flood
- Wass Stevens as Johnny Dicesare
- Sadie Sink as Kimberley
- Meld Ludwig as Young Kimberley 18 years old
- Marissa Rose Gordon as Penelope (Bikini Girl #2)
On May 10, 2011, it was announced that Jeff Feuerzeig would direct the boxing drama The Bleeder based on the script he co-wrote with Jerry Stahl, about a true story of the heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner. Michael Tollin and Carl Hampe were attached as producers, while Linda Zander's Maxar Pictures was attached to finance the film. Christina Hendricks was previously cast in the film to play one of the lead roles. In October 2015, Liev Schreiber was confirmed to play Wepner, who always wanted to portray the role, and had been attached with the project for the last five years, and Naomi Watts was cast to play his third wife Linda Wepner. Schreiber would also produce the film along with Tollin, Hampe, Christa Campbell, and Lati Grobman, with banners Mandalay Sports Media and Campbell-Grobman Films. On October 22, 2015, Elisabeth Moss was cast in the film to play his second wife, Phyllis Wepner, who was with him when Wepner fought Muhammad Ali.
On October 30, 2015, additional cast was announced, including Jim Gaffigan as John Stoehr, Wepner's loyal friend; Michael Rapaport as Wepner's estranged brother; Pooch Hall as boxer Ali, whose 1975 fight with Wepner led to Wepner's sudden fame; and Morgan Spector as actor-screenwriter Sylvester Stallone, who wrote Rocky soon after the 1975 fight. Wepner claimed he had inspired that film's title character Rocky Balboa but Stallone has never confirmed it. On November 11, 2015, Ron Perlman signed on to play Al Braverman, Wepner's manager and trainer who guided him to the title fight with Ali. On November 11, 2015, Remstar Films acquired the Canadian distribution rights to the film.
The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 2, 2016. It went onto screen at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2016. In September 2016, IFC Films and Showtime Networks acquired U.S distribution rights to the film. It will also screen at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2017. It was released on May 5, 2017.
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On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 79%, based on 70 reviews, with an average rating of 6.8/10. On Metacritic the film has a score of 71 out of 100 score, based on 8 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Glenn Kenny of the NY Times found the performances favorable writing, "Liev Schreiber has almost no physical resemblance to the boxer Chuck Wepner, but he is a terrific actor who pulls off that portrayal, partly through understatement."
- Hipes, Patrick (October 22, 2015). "Elisabeth Moss Joins 'The Bleeder's Corner With Schreiber & Watts". deadline.com. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
- Fleming Jr, Mike (October 7, 2015). "'Ray Donovan's Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts To Star In Chuck Wepner Underdog Ring Saga 'The Bleeder'". deadline.com. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
- Pedersen, Erik (October 30, 2015). "'The Bleeder' Coagulates Cast With Jim Gaffigan, Michael Rapaport, Pooch Hall & Morgan Spector". deadline.com. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
- Fleming Jr, Mike (November 11, 2015). "Ron Perlman Joins 'The Bleeder'". deadline.com. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
- Lodderhose, Diana (May 10, 2011). "Watts, Schreiber to star in 'Bleeder'". variety.com. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- A. Lincoln, Ross (November 11, 2015). "'Headshot' Global Rights Nabbed By Nikkatsu, Vertical & XYZ; Remstar Lands Canadian Rights To 'The Bleeder' – AFM". deadline.com. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- "On the Set for 10/30/15: Keanu Reeves Starts on John Wick Sequel, Seth Rogen and Zac Efron Wrap Up Neighbors 2". ssninsider.com. October 30, 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-11-01. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- "First look at Liev Schreiber and Elisabeth Moss on the set of 'The Bleeder'". onlocationvacations.com. October 31, 2015. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- "On the Set for 12/4/15: Gal Gadot Grabs Her Lasso for 'Wonder Woman', Brad Pitt Wraps 'War Machine', 'Resident Evil' Team Finish Final Chapter". SSN Insider. December 4, 2015. Archived from the original on 2017-06-10. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
- Ritman, Alex (July 28, 2016). "Venice Film Festival Unveils Lineup for 73rd Edition". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
- "The Bleeder". Venice Film Festival. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
- "The Bleeder". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
- Fleming Jr, Mike (September 14, 2016). "IFC & Showtime KO Deal For Liev Schreiber-Starrer 'The Bleeder' – Toronto". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
- Cox, Gordon (March 8, 2017). "Emma Watson and Tom Hanks' 'The Circle' to Premiere at 2017 Tribeca Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
- "Chuck". IFC Films. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
- "The Bleeder (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
- "The Bleeder reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
- "Review: Inside the Ring With 'Chuck,' the Real-Life Rocky". Retrieved 2018-06-16.