IFC Films has released the first trailer for Chuck, the boxing biopic based on the true story of Chuck Wepner, the New Jersey liquor salesman who went 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali and inspired Sylvester Stallone‘s Rocky franchise. Previously titled The Bleeder, Chuck debuted at TIFF last year (Read Phil Brown’s festival review here) and stars Liev Schreiber as the local Jersey boxing hero through the rise and fall of his career and personal life, and the redemption that followed after.
The cast alone is enough to prick up your ears and the trailer has a fun energy, but ultimately this looks like a pretty meat and potatoes sports biopic with all the triumph, excess, hard partying, fall from grace, and rise from the ashes you’ve come to expect from any decent feel-good redemption story. I don’t expect Chuck will rewrite any rulebooks on the genre, but it’s an interesting true-life tale most people probably aren’t familiar with.
Directed by The Good Lie helmer Philippe Falardeau, Chuck also stars Naomi Watts, Elisabeth Moss, Ron Perlman, Jim Gaffigan, Michael Rapaport, Pooch Hall, and Morgan Spector. The film opens in theaters May 5, 2017. Watch the trailer below.
Here’s the official synopsis for Chuck:
Chuck is the true story of Chuck Wepner, the man who inspired the billion-dollar film series Rocky—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.