EAST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) — A film now some years in the making, “Bleed for This,” the story of five-time world champion Rhode Island boxer Vinny Paz, has announced two major additions to the cast — and a new deadline for cameras to start rolling.
Chad A. Verdi of Verdi Productions announced Monday that Golden Globe-nominated actor Aaron Eckhart and actor Miles Teller are joining the cast. Eckhart, who’s had roles in “The Dark Knight,” “Olympus Has Fallen,” and “I, Frankenstein,” is to take on the role of Paz’s boxing trainer, Kevin Rooney. Teller, who’s currently starring in “That Awkward Moment,” will take on the role of Vinny Paz.
The project of Paz’s biopic has been in development since at least 2009. In October of that year, Scott Caan, noted for roles in the new “Ocean’s Eleven” series and “Boiler Room,” was attached to play Paz, along with Jerry Ferrara, known as “Turtle” on the HBO series “Entourage,” to play Paz’s best friend. Former N’Sync member Joey Fatone was also to appear, and production was set to begin in 2010. By February of last year, the plan was to start shooting in September.
The plan now is to begin pre-production before July 2014.
The film will tell the story of how Paz recovered from a near-fatal car crash, then went on to win three world boxing titles. It’s being produced by legendary director Martin Scorsese, who won an Oscar for directing “The Departed,” and Bruce Cohen, who won an Oscar for producing “American Beauty.”
Verdi’s film company, based in East Greenwich, known as Verdi Productions/Woodhaven Production Company, has produced six feature films in Rhode Island over the past four years, they said in a release Monday. Legendary director Martin Scorsese, who won an Oscar for directing “The Departed,” is a producer on the project, and writer/director Ben Younger is also on board; he was the writer and director of “Boiler Room.” The budget for “Bleed for This” is estimated at between $10 million and $20 million.