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Miles Teller boxing biopic wows fans at Busan festival

 Actor Miles Teller PHOTO: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Actor Miles Teller PHOTO: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Hollywood star Miles Teller has revealed the pain behind his performance as boxer Vinny Pazienza in the biopic “Bleed for This”, a role that looks certain to generate Oscar buzz for the actor.

“Physically I was probably the furthest away from a world champion boxer as you could get,” said Teller, speaking to the press gathered at the 21st Busan International Film Festival.

“I needed every minute of every day of eight months just to be close to imitating this man. I can’t stress enough how special this guy is.”

Teller has followed up his breakthrough effort in the Oscar-nominated “Whiplash” (2014) with a similarly powerful turn as Pazienza, the five-time world champion boxer from the 1980s and 1990s who famously recovered from a near-fatal car accident to make a triumphant return to the ring.

“There is a certain kind of person who when the bullets are flying or the punches are being thrown, they go towards them,” said 29-year-old Teller. “Where that comes from I don’t know.”

“Bleed for This”, directed by Ben Younger, is set for release in the United States on November 18 before hitting screens across the globe. But it has first been wowing fans this week at BIFF, as it did when it made its world debut at last month’s Telluride Film Festival in Colorado.

Teller has been joined at Asia’s largest film festival by Younger and co-star Aaron Eckhart and the director said the film’s subject matter was tailor-made for the big screen, given Pazienza’s remarkable story, and the history boxing has of producing great cinema.

“This film was meant to inspire,” said Younger. “To see this guy, come back from this injury to do the thing he loves. I would love it if people saw this film and then said to themselves, ‘You know, I am going to give this thing another shot.’ I can do this. I can pass this test.”

Eckhart, who plays Pazienza’s trainer Kevin Rooney in the film, revealed he had felt under considerable pressure in portraying a character based on a real person.

“We are representing people who are still around, and this film is shot in places where these characters still live,” said Eckhart.

“The good thing is that they are there for you, to tell us the real stories. That gives us a vivid image of what really happened but we want them to be happy.”

BIFF continues until Saturday.

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