'Bleed for This' Premiere: Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart Praise Legendary Boxer Vinny Pazienza
Pazienza, the subject of the film, also was in attendance at the event held Wednesday night in Beverly Hills.
A punching bag was set up at the end of the red carpet at Wednesday night's premiere of Ben Younger's Bleed for This, which took place at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
Castmembers Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart and Katey Sagal were all in attendance, along with Vinny Pazienza himself (Teller's character and the subject of the film), who walked the red carpet to the sound of cheers. Dressed in a black suit with gold pinstripes and a backwards black hat with a black beanie underneath, Pazienza joked with nearly everyone and took pictures with the punching bag. Michael Berto Colon, Randy Couture, Tony Hawk, Jessica Szor and many more celebrities also were in attendance at the premiere.
"Vinny's a once-in-a-lifetime person," Teller told reporters just before entering the theater. "He had the greatest comeback in sports."
Vinny "The Pazmanian Devil" Pazienza was a local Providence, R.I., boxer before he shot to stardom after winning two world title bouts. The fight of his life, however, did not come in the ring. Following the two wins, Pazienza suffered a broken neck in a near-fatal car accident. He was told he might never walk again, but refused to listen. Five days out of the hospital, Pazienza was bench-pressing while fitted with a metal device screwed into his skull. With the help of renowned boxing trainer Kevin Rooney (played by Eckhart in the film) and against all odds, Pazienza returned to the ring just one year after the accident.
"It's about Vinny following his dreams, not letting anybody tell him what to do," said Eckhart, who stopped to talk with The Hollywood Reporter before the screening about how he prepared for his role as the legendary trainer. "Freddie Roach from Wild Card let me be a fly on the wall in his training camp when he was training [Manny] Pacquiao for his second [Timothy] Bradley fight," he said. "Kevin [Rooney Jr.] took me through his father's routine, his psychology, how he trains people. So I got a pretty good education."
Bleed for This marks Younger's return to directing after more than a decade. It was written by Younger, Pippa Blanco and Angelo Pizzo, and Martin Scorsese served as an executive producer. The R-rated film will be distributed by Open Road Films and is set to bow Nov. 18.