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(2007)  Rod Lurie tells the uplifting tale of a sports writer who almost lost it all before stumbling into the story of a lifetime in this uplifting sports-themed drama. Erik Kernan (Hartnett) is a Denver-based sports writer whose prose is dull and whose marriage is failing. Not only is Erik having a difficult time dealing with his stubborn editor Metz (Alan Alda) - who refuses to take the suffering scribe off of the boxing beat - but the pain of being separated from his young son has weighed heavier on Erik's conscience than he could have ever imagined. When Erik sees a local homeless man (Samuel L. Jackson) being violently assaulted by a gang of sadistic street toughs, he instinctively comes to the suffering man's rescue.

As fate would have, Erik discovers that the nondescript homeless man is actually the former boxing champion Battling Bob Satterfield, whom many sports fans had assumed dead. Now driven to tell the story that may establish him as a successful sports writer, Erik gradually begins to make the transformation from ordinary man to extraordinary champion - largely by turning inward and by reexamining his relationship with his own son.

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Cast

  • Josh Hartnett.....................Erik Kernan
  • Samuel L. Jackson.....................Champ
  • Katherine Morris............Joyce Kernan
  • Alan Alda............................Ralph Metz
  • Teri Hatcher.......................Andrea Flak
  • Rachel Nichols..............................Polly
  • Peter Coyote........................Ike Epstein

Credits

  • Directed by.............................Rod Lurie
  • Written by..................Michael Bortman and Allison Burnett
  • Cinematography by............Adam Kane
  • Music by...........................Larry Groupť
  • Running time: 111 min.
  • Premiered in the US on August 24, 2007

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Film Festivals
:

  • Sundance Film Festival - January 20, 2007
  • Cannes Film Festival - May 27, 2007
  • Maui Film Festival -  June 14, 2007

 Photos from the Premiere

Production Notes:

For logistical and financial reasons, Lurie chose to film in Calgary, which began on June 19, 2006. The story was set in Denver though because the look of the city was a better match. It also made it possible to shoot later key exteriors in Denver itself. The newsroom scenes were also authentic, shot over six days right in the middle of the Calgary Herald. Similarly, the production filmed at a real homeless shelter called The Mustard Seed and wound up hiring approximately forty of the shelter's residents and guests to be extras. The boxing flashbacks were filmed at the Corral Arena at the Calgary Stampede Grounds and at a local ranch. Eric Bryson, the film's boxing choreographer and stunt coordinator, was one of Lennox Lewis' former sparring partners, and he was dedicated to recreating the boxing style of the fifties.

Reviews:

"The cast member who gave me the biggest surprise and delight, however, was Peter Coyote, whose turn as an old, crusty, insistently methodical preserver of the historical archive of boxing, could have stolen the entire show had he been given a chance to do it. Watch for him but don't be surprised if he fools you."  ..Cinema Signals

"Peter Coyote, as seedy boxing manager Epstein, turns a cameo into a showstopper."  ...John Mulderig, Catholic News Service

"In the supporting cast, the stand out is Peter Coyote as a cigar-chomping gym owner who knows all about the past. It's a fine acting moment."   ...Mal Vincent, The Virginian-Pilot

"Peter Coyote is marvelous and unrecognizable in a Miami beach tan and Lew Wasserman maxi-frame glasses as a fight manager from the champ's past."   ...Bruce Bennett, The New York Sun

"Your eyes, hearts and minds gravitate to the older, more seasoned characters, like Alan Alda... and Peter Coyote as Ike Epstein, an old-time fight-ring manager with a fetid, uproarious air of authority."  ...Michael Sragow, Baltimore Sun

"Combined with some stellar supporting characters - namely Peter Coyote as a former fight promoter with big square glasses, and Kathryn Morris as Erik's ex-wife - director Rod Lurie creates some wonderful small moments for his cast to sink their teeth into."  ...Katherine Monk, Montreal Gazette

"Thereís also a great cameo by an almost unrecognizable Peter Coyote as an elderly boxing promoter named Epstein"  ...Frank Swietek, One Guy's Opinion

"Well-grounded in manly realms - Peter Coyote's cameo as an old-school gym owner is so sharp you can smell his rancid cigar."    ...Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"The character actors, particularly Peter Coyote as an ancient trainer, luxuriate in Lurieís seemingly insignificant details."  ...Dan Moore, Movie Columnist


director1.gif (905 bytes)In the director's words: "I really had to fight to see this picture come to life and those of us involved have always felt very personal toward the material. It was as though by making this film we would all become better people, and in fact, I think thatís what happened... Itís such a wonderful story about fathers and sons and the honesty between them. Itís also about a profound friendship that develops between two people who are very different, and ultimately very similar. Iím proud I got the chance to explore the story on film.

"Epstein is a 75-year-old Jewish fight promoter and my Dad was a boxer and grew up in that world of gyms... Old fight guys. And I knew them. I know them in my bone marrow... It's a real character turn and hopefully I'll be hard to recognize."  ...Peter Coyote


Images

 

[ The Official Peter Coyote Web Site ]