Monday, July 12, 2010

A Real-Life Rocky is Risen

What began as The Fifteenth, a short film shopped at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, is now Risen, a full-length feature world premiering July 29th in Cardiff, Wales as part of the World Boxing Council’s three-day "Night of Champions" event. In both cases, the actor portraying late World Featherweight champion Howard Winstone (he passed away in 2000) is Stuart Brennan, whose Burn Hand Film Productions underwrote the biopic.

It should be a grand old time on the Wales red carpet, since the WBC gathering is slated to reunite the largest ever fraternity of past and present boxing champions. A number of these real-life pugilists have cameo roles in Risen, which was written and directed by Brennan's Burn Hand partner Neil Jones.

What makes the story of Winstone so remarkable is the way he adapted his amateur boxing style as a teenager after an accident at a local toy factory claimed the tips of three fingers on his right hand. Until then, he was known for his right-handed power, but suddenly unable to make a fist with that hand, he switched to an M.O. that relied more on a left-handed jab. After Winstone turned pro in 1959, he eventually squared off in three separate World Featherweight title bouts against Mexican Vicente Saldivar (played in the film by Erik Morales), losing all three. But Winstone persevered and finally claimed the World title in 1968 from another opponent, with Saldivar watching from the audience.

Winstone was an immensely popular figure in Wales, earning an Order of the British Empire shortly after he retired and being posthumously voted in 2005 the "Greatest Citizen of Merthyr Tydfil." A pair of trailers have whetted the appetites of his fans and among those in attendance for the WBC bash alongside the likes of Joe Frazier, Roberto Duran and Leon Spinks will be Risen co-star Morales.


No comments:

Post a Comment