“The Fighter,” a movie on the life of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward starring Irish American Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale is ready to begin shooting.
The film, directed by David O. Russell, who worked with Wahlberg on "Three Kings" and "I Heart Huckabees," will begin filming next week in Ward’s hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts.
Irish-American actor Wahlberg told the crowd at the Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park before he threw the first pitch the other day that “Growing up, I was a huge ‘Irish’ Micky Ward fan.”
The biopic will tell the life story of light welterweight Micky Ward and his half brother, Dicky Eukland, to be played by Wahlberg and Bale, respectively. Melissa Leo will play Ward and Eukland’s mother, while Amy Adams will portray Ward’s tough as nails girlfriend.
Wahlberg has always dreamed of playing a boxer, and 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 that Hollywood heavyweights have signed on and the cast is complete, “The Fighter” is set for round one.
The Boston-born Wahlberg has continues to undergo intense training to get into shape for his role as Ward.
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 Micky, 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 Micky Ward," by sports anchor Bob Halloran.