Boxing biopics usually fall into one of two categories: the young upstart pup who shows the old dogs how it’s done (but struggles along the way), and the guy everyone has counted out (even the ref) who somehow makes his way back. Boiler Room director Ben Younger has just signed on to make one from the second group, called Paz.
The film will follow the true-life tale of Vinny Pazienza, a pugilist in his prime who broke his neck in a car accident and was told he’d never walk again. But he refused to give in to that prognosis, and ended up winning three more world titles despite his injury. Now that’s guts.
Producer Chad A Verdi – who according to Variety has known Paz since childhood – has been trying to push the film through development for several years now. He locked in sports biopic veteran and Hoosiers/Rudy writer Angelo Pizzo to craft the script in 2010 but has been looking for a director. With Younger in place and taking another pass on the screenplay, the plan is to start shooting in September.
Younger last made Meryl Streep/Uma Thurman comedy Prime in 2005 and since then has mostly worked on TV shows. This will hopefully mark something of a comeback for him…