Rocky Marciano family authorizes movie

Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:52am EST
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By Gregg Goldstein

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Boxing legend Rocky Marciano is coming to the big screen in his first authorized biopic.

The film will follow Marciano from childhood in blue-collar Brockton, Mass., to his 1969 death in a plane crash. He was the only champion boxer to retire from his professional career undefeated, ringing up six heavyweight championships and 49 straight wins, 43 by way of knockout.

The fighter's younger brother, Lou Marciano, gave producer Morris S. Levy and first-time writer Terri Apple never-before-revealed details about the athlete's life, including his relationship with his wife and father, for an original draft written before the Hollywood writers strike began November 5.

Marciano's family said it hopes the film will erase memories of the unauthorized 1979 ABC TV movie "Marciano" starring Tony Lo Bianco and the 1999 Showtime movie "Rocky Marciano" starring Jon Favreau.

"They didn't have any similarities to my brother," Marciano said. "He was a very restless, impatient man -- very curious and bright, not your typical fighter from the streets."

Levy produced the summer comedy "The Ten" starring Paul Rudd and Winona Ryder and the upcoming teen comedy "Harold" starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Nikki Blonsky.

He plans to ready the Marciano biopic for production late next year with a studio or mini-major partner and hopes to capture the recent successes of such films as "Ray" and "Walk the Line."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter