AFM: Ray Winstone Enters Ring for British Boxing Drama

Ray Winston - H 2015
AP Images/Invision

Ray Winston - H 2015

The untitled project, backed by BBC Films and being sold by Independent, is the debut script from rising star (and former boxing champion) Johnny Harris.

Following appearances in Monsters: Dark Continent and Snow White and the Huntsman, plus Sky's big-budget series Fortitude and the recent BBC police drama From Darkness, rising British name Johnny Harris is set to see a project based on his debut script launch at next month's AFM.

London-based Independent has come aboard Harris' semi-autobiographical and, as yet untitled, boxing feature, financed by BBC Films and with BAFTA-nominated and International Emmy-winning Ray Winstone set to star.

Harris, who like Winstone was a successful youth boxer before moving to acting, is set to play a troubled man who returns to his former boxing club and the only family he has left: gym owner (Winstone) and cornerman (Michael Smiley). Years after anyone thought he was a contender, he starts training to regain his place in the world.

British rock icon and former The Jam singer Paul Weller will score the film, while retired World Boxing Association featherweight champion Barry McGuigan is the boxing consultant and currently training with Harris.

Thomas Napper is set to make his directorial debut with the film, which is being produced by Mike Ellliot (Catch Me Daddy, The Goob) and exec produced by Andrew Eaton (Rush, 24 Hour Party People) and BBC Films' Christine Langan.

"We were blown away by this fresh and powerful genre take on a familiar boxing premise, and we’re really excited to share this commercial and moving story with our buyers in AFM," said Independent's managing director Andrew Orr.

This year's Cannes saw a swift one-two of boxing titles picked up for the U.S., with the Miles Teller-starring Bleed for This and biopic Hands of Stone both finding North American homes.