Peter Farrelly to Direct Film About the Making of ‘Rocky’

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Now here’s a real underdog story. Peter Farrelly (“Green Book”) is set to direct a film inspired by the story of how Sylvester Stallone came to make his seminal 1976 boxing film “Rocky.”

The film is titled “I Play Rocky,” and per its official logline, which never names Stallone directly, the film “follows a struggling actor with a partially paralyzed face and a speech impediment who writes a script that a big movie studio wants to buy, but he refuses to sell it unless he gets to play the lead.”

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The logline continues: “Turning down an offer of life-changing money, he instead works for pennies to get the movie made with himself in the starring role.” The movie becomes the biggest box office hit of 1976, garnering 10 Academy Award nominations and winning Best Picture.

That movie of course is “Rocky.” “Casting is underway” for who would be tapped to play Stallone — or at least the person inspired by Stallone — and the film will be presented to buyers at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival market. It’s being presented to buyers by CAA domestically and by FilmNation Entertainment internationally.

Farrelly is producing with former Warner Bros. film chief Toby Emmerich and Christian Baha. Peter Gamble (“Office Uprising”) is writing the script for the film.

“I’ve been a fan of Peter Farrelly as both a filmmaker and a person since getting to work with him on the music for ‘Dumb and Dumber.’ But it was ‘Green Book’ that made me think of Pete for this inspiring screenplay,” Emmerich said in a statement. “Christian Baha and I feel blessed to have Pete at the helm for this movie. And like the unknown Stallone starring in ‘Rocky,’ Pete will be conducting a worldwide search to discover another actor who just needs one shot — in ‘I Play Rocky’ — to show the world what he can do.”

“When I first read Peter Gamble’s energetic and poignant script, I knew it captured something very special,” Baha added. “The story of ‘I Play Rocky’ is as unique as Sylvester Stallone himself, a seeming Everyman with an undeniable gift who needs to share it with the world and refuses to take ‘no’ for an answer. And like the hero of our film, Baha Productions needed grit and determination as we fought for years to make this project into a reality. We are so fortunate to have teamed up with Toby Emmerich and Peter Farrelly, two legendary talents who not only share but enhance our vision of the film.”

The production companies on the film are Baha Productions, Fireside Films, and Eden Rock Media.

Farrelly most recently made his return to comedy with this year’s “Ricky Stanicky,” and before that he made “The Greatest Beer Run Ever,” a Vietnam War film also inspired by a true story that starred Zac Efron. He won two Oscars for the 2018 Best Picture winner “Green Book.”

“Rocky” fans recently lost Carl Weathers, who played Apollo Creed in the original film and in its sequels and died in February at 76. Stallone paid tribute to him and said he “never could’ve accomplished what we did with ‘Rocky’ without him,” so it stands to reason Weathers could also be a character in “I Play Rocky.”

We’ll also see if Stallone becomes more involved in this project, as he was recently not happy about a potential “Creed” spinoff film based on the “Rocky IV” villain Drago, saying the film was developed behind his back. He also lashed out at “Rocky” producer Irwin Winkler, whom he called “parasitical” as part of a long-running dispute over the film’s ownership.

Farrelly is represented by CAA. Gamble is represented by CAA, Bellevue, and Hansen Jacobsen Teller.

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