EAST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) — Producer Chad Verdi has been working to get the story of Rhode Island boxing legend Vinny Paz on the big screen for years. He and his wife Michelle bought the film rights to Paz’s story in 2009.
“We have one goal: tell Vinny’s story and let the world decide if they like it or not,” Verdi said at his East Greenwich production office Friday.
Verdi’s passion project will start rolling out in theaters later this month. “Bleed for This,” starring Miles Teller as Paz, holds its Rhode Island premiere on November 10th.
From the beginning, Verdi wanted large portions of the movie filmed in the Ocean State.
“This movie could have been made anywhere, but it wouldn’t have been the same if it wasn’t made in Rhode Island,” Verdi said.
Filmmakers used Twin River Casino and the Dunkin Donuts Center to recreate some of Paz’s famous fights, but Verdi pointed out some of the smaller Rhode Island touches in the movie. He said the cake used in a birthday party scene was made by Gregg’s, and they also filmed in the same restaurant where Paz’s father learned about his son’s 1991 car crash that nearly left him paralyzed.
Cranston actor Tom DeNucci, who plays a member of Paz’s entourage in “Bleed for This,” says there’s just enough of Rhode Island in the film.
“It says Rhode Island, but it doesn’t scream it so loud that people outside of the state wouldn’t gravitate toward it,” DeNucci said.
Verdi says he’s encouraged by the reception the movie has received so far.
“I think the people of Rhode Island are going to be proud of this film.”