Elisabeth Moss has been cast as boxer Chuck Wepner’s second wife in The Bleeder, the pic about the true-life tale of the journeyman underdog boxer who improbably pushed world champ Muhammad Ali to the limit in their 1975 title fight. As Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. told you Liev Schreiber has signed on to play Wepner in a role he had been wanting to put the gloves on for years.
Naomi Watts, Schreiber’s real-life wife, is already aboard to play Wepner’s third wife Linda, who steered him through subsequent troubles after the Ali fight — that sudden fame launched a hard-partying lifestyle that led him to serve time for cocaine possession — and ultimately to sobriety and redemption. Moss will play Wepner’s second wife, Phyllis. They were together when he fought Ali.
Mandalay Sports Media and Campbell Grobman Films begins production this month in New York. The Good Lie helmer Philippe Falardeau is directing a script by Jeff Feuerzeig & Jerry Stahl and Michael Cristofer. Schreiber is producing with Mike Tollin, Carl Hampe, Christa Campbell and Lati Grobman, with Jeff Rice exec producing.
Tollin and Feuerzeig purchased Wepner’s life rights a decade ago, and they teamed on the ESPN 30/30 docu The Real Rocky, which chronicled Wepner’s story.
Moss is coming off a Best Actress Drama Emmy nomination for the final season of AMC’s Mad Men, and she also snagged a Tony nom for starring in the revival of The Heidi Chronicles. On the film side she most recently starred in Alex Ross Perry’s Queen Of Earth, has a role in Sony Classics’ Rathergate pic Truth, and stars opposite Tom Hiddleston in the Toronto buzz title High Rise. She recently wrapped shooting the film adaptation of The Seagull and the indie The Free World.
On the TV side, she in talks to return for a second season of the BBC/SundanceTV miniseries Top Of The Lake, for which Moss won a Golden Globe. She is repped by WME, Ribisi Entertainment and Hansen, Jacobson.