Real-Life Rocky Intends To Sue Over Alleged Biopic | Film News
You may have heard of boxing giants like Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Mike Tyson and Jack Dempsey, but what about Chuck Wepner?
Unless you are a major boxing fan then the chances are you will not have heard of this man. Chuck Wepner is a former heavyweight boxer who once went up against Muhammad Ali in 1975 for the WBA and WBC world heavyweight champion titles; a fight that Wepner claims inspired Sylvester Stallone to make Rocky. Stallone denies this to be the case but still settled out of court in 2006 for an undisclosed amount.
The stories do have similarities, both possessing a David and Goliath quality, but Wepner would not be the victorious underdog. Despite a body blow knocking Ali down (later revealed by photographic evidence to be a result of Wepner stepping on Ali’s shoe), Ali went on to punish Wepner into a technical knockout and he faded into the annals of boxing history.
Despite not achieving the status of his rival, his life is still getting the cinematic treatment as a biopic titled The Bleeder, starring Spotlight‘s Liev Schreiber, is currently in production. However, Wepner is now suing a rival project, allegedly titled American Brawler, for stealing essential details of his life for the story.
According to the former heavyweight’s suit, Wepner began working with American Brawler‘s production company Aloe Entertainment in 2013. However they found the collaborative relationship to be unsatisfactory and severed ties with the company and the production.
Regardless, the production has gone ahead and Wepner demands damages and an injunction against the production of this rival picture. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Mary Aloe (head of Aloe Entertainment) had this to say:
“This lawsuit is completely meritless and lacks adequate factual or legal basis. My clients intend to vigorously contest the allegations which have been made against them and to file a countersuit at the appropriate time.”
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