With director Philippe Falardeaub’s Chuck (previously titled The Bleeder) opening in theaters this weekend, I recently sat down with Liev Schreiber to talk about the making of the film. If you’re not familiar with Chuck, it’s based on the true story of Chuck Wepner (played by Schreiber) the New Jersey heavyweight boxer who fought 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali and inspired to Sylvester Stallone to write Rocky. That movie’s wild success led to an ego explosion and a taste for cocaine that cost Wepner his career, his wife (Elisabeth Moss), and eventually landed him in prison. It’s a crazy story that also stars Naomi Watts, Jim Gaffigan, Michael Rapaport, Pooch Hall, Morgan Spector and Ron Perlman as Wepner’s manager. For more on Chuck watch the trailer or read Phil Brown’s review.
During the interview Schreiber talked about why he wanted to tell Wepner’s story, memorable moments from filming which included Wepner giving him advice on how to fight a bear, how the film tells the true story warts and all, why he felt the need to get hit in the face while filming the boxing scenes, how he spoke to Sylvester Stallone prior to filming and what he learned, and a lot more.
Check out what he had to say in the player above and below is a list of what we talked about followed by some images from the film.
- Why did he want to get hit in the face while filming Chuck?
- Did he ever get knocked out?
- He’s been trying to get Chuck made for many years. What was it about the story that kept him interested?
- Memorable moments from filming. Tells a great story about Chuck Wepner coming to set to watch him do the bear fight.
- How most people are lucky to get one film made about their life and Wepner now has two films.
- Talks about how the film tells the true story warts and all.
- Do you need someone’s permission to be portrayed in a movie if they were in someone’s life?
- Talks about how he spoke to Sylvester Stallone prior to filming and what he learned.