Christian Bale and director David O. Russell are set to join Mark Wahlberg in The Fighter.
According to Variety, Relativity Media will fully finance the film, while Paramount Pictures, which initiated the project, will now be limited to distributing domestically.
The film tells the story of Boston fighter "Irish" Mickey Ward and how he was helped to the world lightweight championship by half-brother Dicky Eklund. Eklund once decked Sugar Ray Leonard and went the distance against the boxing legend before forfeiting his career to drugs and crime. He redeemed himself by training Ward through his Rocky-like run to the title.
Over the past few years, The Fighter has drawn some of Hollywood's biggest talents but was KO'd on two previous occasions. The project first came together with Boston natives Wahlberg and Matt Damon toplining for director Darren Aronofsky. Damon dropped out and Brad Pitt was poised to replace him, but the picture still stalled. Then Aronofsky moved on.
Meanwhile, Wahlberg has continued to train and is in fighting shape.
Wahlberg will play Ward, a fighter who was losing bouts and was ready to hang up the gloves when his brother came back into his life. Bale will play Eklund, whose drugs and robbery spree drew him a 10- to 15-year sentence in state prison. There, he kicked drugs, became a model prisoner and emerged as a changed man who helped his brother reach the glory that eluded him.
Production is expected to begin production in July.