A few websites around the cyber universe are abuzz with some of the most eye-opening and ultimately distressing news to fans of Raging Bull, the 1980 biopic directed by Martin Scorsese which told of the life of ex-middleweight boxer and champion Jake LaMotta. MovieHole is reporting that a prequel/sequel hybrid film is going to start production this summer, starring William Forsythe (Dick Tracy, Gotti, Boardwalk Empire) as LaMotta, who will try to fill the enormous shoes of playing the role that was made famous by Robert DeNiro in the original film.
Casting is currently underway for the new film, based on a book by the real LaMotta entitled Raging Bull II: The Continuing Story of Jake LaMotta. This new installment will show the pre and post career of LaMotta, bookending the original film. Forsythe plays the older LaMotta; who will be playing the younger LaMotta remains to be seen.
An Argentinean director by the name Martin Guigui, who directed a film called Beneath the Darkness which starred Dennis Quaid and was released last year and quickly found its way to the direct to video graveyard, takes the directorial reins. If Forsythe has the large shoes to fill trying to do his best DeNiro paces in this new production, then Guigui’s shoes are going to stretch from here to China, as he now is in the director’s chair once occupied by one Martin Scorsese.
The original film is renowned as not only being one of the greatest boxing films ever made, but one of cinema’s greatest films of all time as well. It elevated the boxing film itself, which had previously utilized the basic formula of a down on his luck palooka who makes good at the end in the ring, ala William Holden in Golden Boy, Paul Newman in Somebody Up There Likes Me, and of course, Sylvester Stallone in Rocky. Raging Bull turns the genre inside out. The character of Jake LaMotta, as portrayed by DeNiro, is an unapologetic abusive lout who wasn’t a sympathetic character in any shape or form; who used the ring to exorcise the demons and guilt he felt and cultivated by how he so shabbily and cruelly treated his friends and family outside the ring. The fact that such a grim, intense story of such a grim, intense man in LaMotta was pulled off so successfully in the original film, is a testament to the skills of DeNiro, Scorsese, and screenwriters Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin. The original film won an Oscar for DeNiro for Best Actor and one for Thelma Schoonmaker’s superb editing as well, which also had a hand in revolutionizing the boxing film genre as evidenced by the jarring, violent surreal scenes of LaMotta when he was inside the ring. Filmed in black and white to boot, Raging Bull remains one of the top shelf cinematic productions of all time.
Now, however, there’s this “sequel/prequel” in the works, which although will probably not water down the effect of the original film per se, might add a ridiculous footnote to it nonetheless with an upcoming new movie. The herculean task for all involved in the upcoming production has certainly raised eyebrows from critics and fans alike. This is kind of akin to making a sequel to Scorsese’s Taxi Driver as directed by Catherine Hardwicke, who directed the first Twilight film. Or if the late John Hughes, best remembered for his 1980s teen comedies, was directing Hamlet. In fact, just the mere mention of an undertaking of a project like this makes one speechless; this news is almost as if it’s fallout from all the hoaxes perpetrated on all of us entertainment fans since April Fool’s Day. Stay tuned for further developments about THIS one folks…
[Source: MovieHole via JoBlo]