By Adam Ray Palmer
On Monday 27th March, the DVD release of boxing-biopic Bleed For This starring Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart arrives.
Bleed For This focuses on the inspirational story of World Champion Boxer Vinny Pazienza who made one of sport's most incredible comebacks.
Below, we talk all things movies, Miles Teller and the crazy ‘Halo’ treatment Vinny endured…
ABOUT BLEED FOR THIS:
Vinny Pazienza (Miles Teller) is the pride of Rhode Island, making a name for himself by winning a number of messy bouts. A switch to a new trainer, Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart) helps Vinny forge a path back to the sport that's fuelled with passion and discipline. But when a terrible accident causes an injury that threatens Vinny's ability to function, let alone fight, Vinny and Rooney must find a way for him to get back in the ring. The only other option is for Vinny to lose his purpose, and that's not an option he's willing to take.
ARP: Thank you for your time Vinny, what has the past year been like with all the Bleed For This press?
VINNY: The last 12 months have been crazy… but my life has always been crazy! Great moments for sure!!!
ARP: Does it feel awesome to have a film made about your life? Are you happy with the finished film?
VINNY: It’s been a long time coming! This has been in the works a long time; around 7 years. To have Scorsese’s name attached I was honoured - it's a big deal! Plus, Bruce Cohen, multiple Oscar winner, and great actors like Miles (Teller), who is on the rise and has the drive to be the best. Yes, it was good although I was very unhappy with some people involved who I feel like didn't push this film in the way it needed to be but as life is, you keep pushing forward no matter what.
ARP: When Miles Teller first signed on to play you, what was your initial thoughts? Happy with the casting? Happy with his performance?
VINNY: I thought WOW!!!! This kid is no way but the truth. I met him and saw the drive in him, he nailed it and I am very happy.
ARP: How much of the film was exaggerated? Or is it all true to your life?
VINNY: Exaggerated… no. If anything, under exaggerated… I won 60k!! And it's true, I had no drugs to take the Halo off… ask Dr Cotter… He is still alive! To be honest I was very flamboyant and wilder then what was shown but I’m happy with the outcome.
ARP: When you had the accident, was there ever a moment of giving up? Do you remember exactly the moment when you thought “no, I will get back to the ring one day”? Did your family think you were crazy?
VINNY: Never, I was never going to give up ever.
ARP: Were your family fully supportive of your decision of going back into boxing, after getting over the fact of you training before you should have been?
VINNY: Yes, it's all I ever wanted to do. My parents believed in me. I was crazy determined and I had a lot of heart; end of story.
ARP: Were you not scared of severely damaging yourself from working out with your injury? Couldn’t one bump have possibly severed your spinal cord?
VINNY: Never scared but yes it could have but it didn't! I never lost faith and belief and that's why we wanted to do this film.
ARP: I must ask, what was wearing the ‘Halo’ like? It looked so painful to have it fitted and removed…?
VINNY: Painful!! And very very hard, the Halo was a nightmare but I knew that I was going to fight or I was going to die.
ARP: I found your story extremely inspirational, even though it was risky to have trained as early as you did, it was still incredibly inspiring nonetheless. Are you happy with how Bleed For This captured that message? I think the film demonstrates it well.
VINNY: 5 world titles and because of persistence, determination and hard work, I was never going to give up. I was happy with all the actors; I didn't like how they didn’t write that my father was in my corner always. He never left through war and he would never leave. I was happy with the film but very angry and disappointed in the way this went. And I’m disappointed in some of the bad people that didn't push this the way it needed. I will take the DVD and use it worldwide to motivational speak though, it’s Inspirational yes, no one did what I did, no one! I’m happy it's out there for people to see.
ARP: What are you up to nowadays? Apart from the promotion of Bleed For This? Do you still train? Do you want to be a trainer perhaps?
VINNY: I train every night but there’s no way I’ll go into training, all I ever wanted to do was fight. I have a wine line now and I also work to reach out to kids and take part in inspirational speaking. I just did a speaker slot in Palm Springs and they went crazy and so many people hit my website to share their stories! I love my fans, PAZMAN has always had the best fans. To this day my mail is through the roof.
ARP: Finally, I always end an interview with this question, do you have a favourite film? Or a top three perhaps?
VINNY: Top three favourite films would be Ali – he’s why I started boxing! I love all Scorsese films so I would say mine is the top of course! Truth is, I don't know, I have a lot of love to see a good story like everyone else. I hope my movie slowly in time can get people to do the impossible and believe more in themselves to just do it. Simply, just do what people tell you you can't! Stay Strong 5XXXVP.
Thank you very much for your time, and can I say, I love your boxing nickname of ‘The Pazmanian Devil’!
Bleed For This is out on DVD on March 27th in the UK – certificate 15