There’s been a number of boxing films lately, and while underdog is the de rigueur theme throughout all of them, there’s nothing like the fall, then the severe drop, and then the ultimate rise of two-time world champion fighter Vinny Pazienza aka Vinny Paz. Here’s a boxer who collapsed due to near-fatal hydration following his battle with Roger Mayweather in 1988. Soon after becoming a two-time world champ, Pazwas in a near-fatal car crash in 1991. Nearly paralyzed with a severe neck injury, Paz found himself with four screws and halo-healing device strapped to his body. Doctors advised him never to box again. But the Pazmanian Devil secretly lifted weights despite the pain and returned to the ring within a year to win three more titles, twice beating Roberto Duran — subject of this summer’s biopic Hands of Stone.
In Bleed for This, Aaron Eckhart plays Kevin Rooney, Paz’s outspoken trainer who also trained Mike Tyson. “I love these people with that warrior mentality,” said Whiplash actor Miles Teller, who sought out the Paz role. “You have a doctor, the highest people in the field, telling you, ‘This is impossible,’ and there just something in there that says, ‘Not for me.'” Open Road acquired Ben Younger’s Bleed for This during post-production out of last year’s Cannes for $4M. The pic opens on November 4.
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