The A-List: Bleed for This
director Ben Younger
By Iain Blair
Writer/director Ben Younger had been MIA for quite a while. Back in 2000 he made a splash with his feature debut, Boiler Room. This tense crime drama, which starred Ben Affleck and Vin Diesel, was set in the high stakes — and sometimes illegal — world of brokerage firms and investment banking.
Five years later, he directed his second film, the Meryl Streep/Uma Thurman romantic dramedy Prime, which grossed $67 million worldwide and cemented his reputation as someone to watch. Then Younger disappeared from sight.
Over a decade later, he’s back with his third film, Bleed for This, a super-intense boxing drama and the true comeback story of Vinny Pazienza, the “Pazmanian Devil” (Miles Teller), whose boxing career should have ended when a terrible head-on car smash left him with a badly broken neck and few chances of ever walking again, let alone fighting in the ring. Yet he refused to throw in the towel and staged the sport’s most unlikely comeback so he could defend his middleweight world championship.
I spoke with Younger about his disappearance from the industry, making this film and his love-hate relationship with post.
It’s been 11 years since your last film. What the hell happened?
It’s been even longer — 12 years (laughs). I wanted to make this motorcycle racing film, Isle of Man, back in ’07, but no one would make it. I got a little disenchanted and a little upset. I tried to get another movie made, but couldn’t get that off the ground either. I stepped back and decided to take five, six years off and go the experiential route instead.
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