My film ‘debut’ in the 1997 film ‘The Boxer’
We all love a good film but I think it’s fair to say with boxing at the cinema there has been the good, the bad and some just plain ugly. I have mixed feelings with the Rocky franchise. Rocky was fantastic but the sequels were dreadful except in 2006 when the final ‘Rocky Balboa’ surprisingly redeemed itself.
In 1997, I was lucky enough to be involved in the Jim Sheridan film ‘The Boxer’. With Barry McGuigan and Damien Denny (Damien was a light middleweight boxer from Northern Ireland had an acting part playing Eddie Carroll). I worked as Daniel Day-Lewis body double, so all the moves and camera angles could be worked out in advance.
Daniel Day-Lewis is known for being a dedicated and professional actor. He had the same approach to learning boxing in preparation for the film. Whilst filming all day, he still put in the hours of training in order to learn all the moves and techniques. In the end, Daniel would have been good enough to fight in the ring at amateur level, no doubt about it. At the time, there was talk about arranging a real amateur fight in Ireland but Universal Studios pulled the plug for insurance reasons.
I also managed to make my acting debut with a 20 second scene as a boxer (thanks to Damien Denny). In my scene I knocked out an Irish amateur boxer, though it was all cleverly choreographed! Those 20 seconds of fame took over 4 hours waiting around on set but it was a great experience.
So here they are, in no particular order, my top 10 boxing films below (if you pressed me I would have to go for The Fighter or Raging Bull as my favourite).
My Top Ten Boxing Movies – by Cornelius Carr
The Fighter (2010) – Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale
Million Dollar Baby (2004) – Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman
Rocky (1976) – Sylvester Stallone
Rocky Balboa (2006) – Sylvester Stallone
Raging Bull (1980) – Robert De Niro
Ali (2001) – Will Smith
When We Were Kings (1996) – Muhammad Ali, George Foreman
The Hurricane (1999) – Denzel Washington
Cinderella Man (2005) – Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger
Resurrecting the Champ (2007) – Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Hartnett