Bruce Willis will play Mike Tyson’s legendary boxing trainer Constantine “Cus” D’Aamto in the upcoming indie film Cornerman. The film will be actor Rupert Friend’s (Homeland) directorial debut.
The film will take place in the Catskills region of New York state in the early 1980s, reported The Wrap.
“Ultimately, this is a story about a deep love between two ferocious talents, each brave enough to admit their fears to the other, and so spur one another to greatness,” Friend said in a statement. “It is a story about fighting for what you believe in and a film that will make you question what strength really is.”
In the film, D’Amato is a retired boxing coach who is known for working with some of the sport’s greatest heavyweight champions. Alongside partner Camille, D’Amato operates a small gym where he and other trainers coach young up and comers. D’Amato is pressured by the backer of the gym to discover a champion, so when 13-year-old Mike Tyson stops by with one of his friends, D’Amato follows his instincts.
While Tyson is unruly and a troublemaker, he displays remarkable talent that D’Amato can’t ignore. He starts coaching Tyson with the goal of turning him from an angry young man into the world’s youngest heavyweight world champion.
D’Amato was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and trained famous fighters such as Floyd Patterson and José Torres in addition to Tyson. He developed the Peek-a-Boo style of boxing and boxed as a featherweight and lightweight amateur in his early days. He died in 1985 at the age of 77.
Filmmakers have yet to select the actor who will portray Tyson. The script was written by Friend, and filming is scheduled to start in fall 2018.
Willis, 63, known for films such as Diehard, has several films in production, including The Bombing, Reprisal, Glass, and Motherless Brooklyn. He played a fading boxer in 1994’s Pulp Fiction.