EXCLUSIVE: If you love sports films like I do, here is one that has knockout potential. Robert De Niro and Edgar Ramirez have signed on to star in Hands Of Stone, a drama written and to be directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz. Boxing fans will know where we are going from the title. Ramirez will play champ Roberto Duran. De Niro will play his trainer Ray Arcel in a drama that focuses on how each man changed the life of the other. It is set during boxing’s Golden Era, when Duran was among top notch fighters including Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Marvin Hagler, Hector Camacho, Vinny Pazienza. Duran fought them all and won 103 of his 119 fights. The focus will be on the Panamanian boxer’s incredible brawls with Leonard, culminating in an inexplicable ending of the famous fight where Duran quit in the ring and cried “No mas,” on a night when Leonard was having his way. That was a terrible ending to a rivalry that was everything depicted by De Niro in Raging Bull, when Jake LaMotta had those classic brawls with Sugar Ray Robinson. This was back when boxing mattered, and well before it got eclipsed by mixed martial arts fighting, which is way more accessible to the public and more smartly run than is pro boxing. CAA is handling domestic rights on the film.
Taking on another real-life role, Carlos star Edgar Ramírez will play Simón Bolívar in the biopic Libertador. Danny Huston, María Valverde, Imanol Arias and Billy Elliot‘s Gary Lewis also star. Venezuelan helmer Alberto Arvelo, who directed Ramírez in his last feature Cyrano Fernandez, is working from a script written by Children Of Men scribe Timothy J. Sexton.
Bolívar was instrumental in Latin America’s struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire. Told from his point of view, the film traces his quests, epic military campaigns and vision to unify South America.
L.A. Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who’s also the artistic director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, is scoring