Chuck: "I knocked him down!"
Manager: "Yeah but look at him - now he's really pissed off."
As a silly fangirl, I hold on to hope for that role which brings in the big accolades. I'm talking Oscar Big. From Pacino's Taxi Driver to Redford's Sundance Kid, we've seen careers bourgeon from laudable to legendary with the chewiness of one meaty role. Well, in researching The Bayonne Bleeder it's clear that this is a story which merits being told often and well. And also that Liev is just the man to unfold it before us.
So, here are my Top Ten Reasons for looking forward to The Bleeder:
10. The Era -Wepner started boxing in the same era that Liev was born. There's something so intoxicating about being transcended back into the time we were born that I cannot see Liev being anything less than mesmerizing as he takes on the feeling of the times.
9. The Early Years - Wepner was both a Marine and a security guard before jumping into the ring. Lots of testosterone infused scenes with Alpha Males exerting their power - and in uniform no less!
8. The Dance - Isn't there something great about watching a film that focuses on a subject that is foreign to you? I always welcome the chance to gain a new understanding for someone else's passion. I'm not particularily fond of boxing, but if it's done well enough you almost walk out of the theatre with a new appreciation, don't you?
7. The Drive - Many people take on such a public challenge in order to simply make a name for themself and in those cases most have no intention of winning. Eddy the Eagle, anyone? But for Chuck this was nothing but serious. It was the first time Wepner had the chance to train as a pro, and the prize was $100k, well beyond anything he had ever seen before.
6. The Build Up - I believe we are genetically predisposed to love the underdog. The buzz created in the days leading up to this fight was palpable. This TIME article from 1975 captures the feeling.
5. The Tension - Chuck: "At the end of the 9th round they asked how many fingers they had up? I couldn't see. I was completely blind! My manager tapped me on the back three times and I said 'three'. So the referee said 'O.K. I guess you can see. I'll let you go for the 10th round'. But all I could see was shadows."
4. The Accent: What's better than listening to Liev do a textured, epic, exotic (for me!), accent? Hearing Liev say "Ya gotta go da distance.." in that same heavy accent. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
3. The Greatest: Just as an aside, how many times do we get to see a depiction of someone flying like a butterfly and stinging like a bee?
2. The Marriage - Sounds like these two are a force to be reconed with. An excerpt from Chuck's website: Wepner tells real stories and gives hilarious anecdotes you wouldn't believe! He's got an infectious sense of humor, "The day of the Ali fight I bought my wife a powder-blue negligee and told her ' wear this tonight cause you'll be sleepin' with 'da heavyweight champion of the world.' That night after the bloody fight his wife humorously busted balls, 'Do I go to his room, or will he be commin'' to mine now?!"
1. The Costumes - There's a reason almost no films are set in the Tundra: snow suits are full coverage. Need I say more?