The ‘Chuck’ Trailer Promises the True Story of the ‘Rocky’ Inspiration
While nobody would argue that Hollywood needs to make more movies about Hollywood, there does seem to be an opening for Hollywood to make more movies about the impact of movies in general. We spend hundreds (even thousands) of hours each year watching films, and yet, many of these movies don’t really explore the impact that movies themselves have on our lives and our culture. At the risk of getting a little too meta, a smart screenwriter might tackle the notion of how the movies affect the life of someone on the outside of the industry.
That seems to be the idea behind Chuck (via /Film), a biopic about professional boxer Chuck Wepner. Among his many accomplishments in life — which include lasting fifteen rounds against Muhammad Ali at the height of his career — was the fact that Wepner served as the unofficial inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky franchise. Stallone denied using Wepner’s story as the basis for his screenplay, eventually settling out of court with Wepner when the latter filed a lawsuit. The trailer seems to lean heavily into these events, even including a young Stallone lookalike to play the aspiring filmmaker.
While watching a lightly fictionalized version of the Rocky production would be entertaining enough, Chuck also seems to have an interesting message at its core: what happens when you become famous not for who you are but for who audiences perceive you to be? In an era where everyone is one bad day away from becoming a popular internet meme, Chuck could have something smart to say about the nature and business of secondhand celebrity. With a talented cast in tow, that makes Chuck look a little smarter than your typical pugilist picture.
Here’s the full plot synopsis for Chuck:
He was the pride of Bayonne, New Jersey, a man who went fifteen rounds in the ring with Muhammad Ali, and the real life inspiration for Rocky Balboa. But before all that, Chuck Wepner was a liquor salesman and father with a modest prizefighting career whose life changed overnight when, in 1975, he was chosen to take on The Greatest in a highly publicized title match. It’s the beginning of a wild ride through the exhilarating highs and humbling lows of sudden fame — but what happens when your fifteen minutes in the spotlight are up?
Chuck stars Liev Schreiber, Elisabeth Moss, Naomi Watts, and Ron Perlman and will swing its way into theaters on May 5.