A movie on the life of retired boxer "Irish" Mickey Ward will be made later this year starring Irish American Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale.
"The Fighter" will tell the life story of light welterweight Mickey Ward and his half brother, Dicky Eukland, to be played by Wahlberg and Bale, respectively. David O.Russell, who worked with Wahlberg on "Three Kings" and "I Heart Huckabees," is slated to direct. It will be the first pair-up for Russell and "Dark Knight" star Bale.
Wahlberg has championed this movie for some time, but was met with much difficulty. He originally secured Matt Damon as Eukland and signed up "The Wrestler" director Darren Aronofsky. Then Damon dropped out, and Brad Pitt was cast in in his place. But production was stalled and Aronofsky left the project.
Now, with two new Hollywood heavyweights on board, Wahlberg has finally secured full financing from Relativity Media. The Boston-born actor continues to undergo intense training to get into shape for his role as Ward. Though the main men haven't signed on the dotted line yet, production is expected to start later this summer.
Ward grew up in a working class Irish family in Lowell, Massachussets in the '70s, and despite many setbacks in and out of the ring, ascended to the top of the game.
Ward's older brother, Dicky Eukland, had a promising boxing career himself, and even fought Sugar Ray Leonard before drug addiction and crime saw him end up in prison.
Eukland turned his life around while on the inside, and on his release, started to train Mickey, who had a so-so career up to that time.
Together they went on a run that included a trilogy of fights with Arturo Gatti that immortalized the two fighters in boxing history and started a good friendship between the warriors outside the ring.
Ward retired after his third fight with Gatti in June 2003 with a record of 38-13. The fighter, now a hero in his native Massachusetts, still lives in Lowell and trains up and coming boxers.
The famous Boston band Dropkick Murphys dedicated their song "The Warrior's Code" to Micky Ward, and the boxer's life story is told in "Irish Thunder: The Hard Life and Times of Mickey Ward," by sports anchor Bob Halloran.