“It’s just a beautiful human story, man,” said Miles Teller Monday night at the AMC Lincoln Square on 68th Street. Alongside the star-studded cast of Aaron Eckhart, Katey Sagal and Cirián Hinds, Teller was there to promote and celebrate the New York premiere of his latest flick, “Bleed for This.”
The film tells the comeback story of boxer Vinny Pazienza, who returned to the ring after a near fatal car accident and broken neck to win the world title. Teller, who plays the beloved boxer, said this movie is more than just a boxing film with a typical comeback storyline. “I think anybody that’s ever done something with the odds against them knows what that feels like and I just think it’s going to be very inspirational for people,” he said.
Teller also believes that this movie has the ability to standout amongst such an already well-documented genre. “It’s a true story — a lot of boxing movies are fictionalized characters,” he says. “This is a real man. This is something that really happened and he did something that had never been done before. I mean the guy breaks his neck and continues to work out with a broken neck and comes back to win the title; it’s unparalleled — I don’t know any comeback that rivals it.”
The script, written and directed by Ben Younger, is able to stay funny and lighthearted even as it grapples some of life’s greatest difficulties. Younger said that, for him, the appeal to put this story on the big screen was all about the comeback. “I wasn’t a huge boxing aficionado coming into this, it was all about that he came back from this injury. He had already won two world championships, so he could’ve hung it up and nobody would’ve said anything, so I was intrigued by that.”
Because the film follows the life of a real public figure, Younger had to first gain the rights and the cooperation from Pazienza in order to tell his story. “It was great, I had Vinny’s cooperation. I usually write about fictitious characters, so in this case I had all the resources that go along with making a movie about a person who is a public figure, all the tape, all the family videos, photographs, fights,” he said. “You go on YouTube and type in Vinny Pazienza, you’ll have a months’ worth of s–t to look at.”
For Teller, this film was in many ways his coming of age movie. “He was incredible and this is the first time that he’s playing a man, actually. He’s been playing boys up until this movie. He’s maturing as an actor. He’s ready for this. He transforms,” says Younger of Teller’s transformation.
“Bleed for This” is a movie about dreams, according to Eckhart, who plays Pazienza’s coach, Kevin Rooney. Rushing into the theater to grab his seat and a box of popcorn, Eckhart says, “It’s a movie about dreams, about living your dreams against all odds, not listening to other people and getting it done.”