It’s always exciting to see a well-established actor decide to take a sojourn behind the camera to direct film or television: I always feel a genuine flexing of the creative muscle when this happens and when lightning strikes, it can be profound. Don’t believe me? Check out the stellar directing of such notable thespians as George Clooney (Goodnight and Good Luck), Dennis Hopper (Easy Rider) or Sean Penn (Into the Wild, The Pledge) to see what I mean. Of course, the tables can always be reversed and, in that unfortunate instance, you might wind up with a turkey directed by none other than Captain Kirk himself – William Shatner – in the form of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Here’s hoping then that the news from The Hollywood Reporter of accomplished thespian David Harewood picking up a director’s lens trends more to the former rather than the latter.
David Harewood, the shining talent behind such roles in The Night Manager and Homeland and a mean author and documentarian in his own right, has been tapped to direct the true-life story of boxing legends Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn and their notorious 1990s rivalry in the upcoming movie For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Alongside the drama inherent anytime you visit a boxing ring in cinema (think Scorsese’s Raging Bull or Avildsen’s first Rocky), For Whom the Bell Tolls will also take an up close and personal look at the respective private lives of Eubank and Benn in the time leading up to their final confrontation for the coveted WBO middleweight title.
In a press release announcing his directing of the new movie, Harewood said that “I’m delighted to be at the helm of this fantastic project. It’s an exceptional script and I was drawn to it immediately as it covers many of the themes I have explored in my documentaries and so fundamentally in my book – that of Black British male identities and the unique struggle to find a sense of balance and belonging. As a result, it feels like the perfect time for me to direct this, my first feature film. As a boxing fan and someone who watched both titanic fights live, uncovering the personal and private stories behind those epic battles has been revelatory and I cannot wait to bring their stories to the screen.”
For Whom the Bell Tolls is set to shoot in 2022 and Vents sends out major plaudits to David Harewood for what looks to be a fascinating film!