It’s been a long time coming for Miles Teller, but his latest film is finally set to hit the big screen. The actor stars in “Bleed For This,” a movie based on a true story, detailing one of the greatest comebacks the sports world has ever seen.
Teller plays the role of Vinny Pazienza, a former world champion boxer that returns to the ring after an automobile accident was expected to end his career. While the movie only took 24 days to film, it was nearly a year’s worth of preparation that allowed Teller to accurately portray a professional athlete.
Boxers are in top physical shape, going through rigorous training camps in order to prepare for their time in the ring. Having a few friends that are boxers and hearing how difficult fight camps can be, Teller was well aware before signing on to do the film in 2014 that it would take a lot of work to look the part.
“I knew it was no joke and that I had to be able to box on screen for like 12 hours, and that’s tough,” Teller told International Business Times. “So it was eight months of diet and weights, and then I finally got my boxing coach, Darrell Foster. He trained Sugar Ray Leonard for like 18 years.
“We started very basic, and we just started trying to put one foot in front of the other, and then we got to a place where we felt comfortable. With him [Foster], I think I only had five weeks.”
Teller received the First Annual Stonestreet Granite Award for exceptional work in the motion picture arts Monday in New York, honored by the school where he studied for two years. The hard work that he put in while studying at Stonestreet Studios is the reason he’s been able to land starring roles in films like “Whiplash” and “War Dogs.” Now, Teller is receiving acclaim for “Bleed For This,” which provided him with a different type of challenge.
Before he began training, Teller weighed 188 pounds with 19 percent body fat. When he was finally ready to play the role of Pazienza, he was down 20 pounds with six percent body fat.
Then, there was the challenge of filming in less than a month and making sure production wasn’t interrupted, something that is known to happen on the set of some boxing movies. Dolph Lundgren put Sylvester Stallone in the hospital with a punch while making “Rocky IV,” and Michael B. Jordan took a punch that legitimately knocked him out during the filming of “Creed.”
Fortunately, Teller was able to avoid any punches that were too damaging.
“We only had a day to film each boxing fight, so if I would have gotten knocked out, we would have been missing a lot of our movie,” Teller said. “We really had a shoestring budget. I got hit a couple of times for sure, but luckily nothing too serious.”
Most of the film, however, takes place outside of the ring, focusing on Pazienza’s fight to prove the medical experts wrong and return to doing what he loved.
“Vinny’s story is so impactful, and it's the reason why we’re making a movie about it 15 years after he retired. It’s his fight outside the ring. The odds that he faced are unparalleled in sports and his comeback is unrivaled. It’s really just a testament to the human will to overcome.”
“Bleed For This” hits theaters Friday, Nov. 18, and it has received mostly favorable reviews.