You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Joe Louis-Max Schmeling Movie Project Seeks Crowdfunding

The producers of a biopic on boxer Joe Louis have launched a crowdfunding campaign for the project.

Bill Duke, Gil Adler and Joel Eisenberg, who unveiled the project in November to Variety, started the $200,000 campaign on Wednesday on the Seed and Spark site.

“By crowdfunding the development of the property and further, possibly some pre-production financing, we hope to mitigate some finance risk by bringing a fully developed property to the funding entities,” Eisenberg said.

The untitled project will focus on Louis’ historic two fights with German boxer Max Schmeling. Louis became a symbolic figure in boxing during early global tensions leading to World War II, becoming among the first U.S. black cultural heroes. Schmeling was exploited as Hitler’s German Superman, but had no love for the Nazi regime.

Their two fights took place in Yankee Stadium. Schmeling handed Louis his first loss in their first fight in 1936; Louis knocked out Schmeling in the first round of their rematch in 1938. The two men led lives of unlikely parallels, recognized in the other a kindred spirit and became lifelong friends until Louis’ death in 1981.

Actor-director Duke, whose helming credits include “Predator,” “Menace II Society” and “Sister Act 2,” is attached to lense the feature. The screenplay is completed, and has been written by Eisenberg (author of “The Chronicles of Ara” novel series with Steve Hillard and executive producer of Ovation TV’s upcoming adaptation). Adler’s credits include “Valkyrie,” “Superman Returns” and “Constantine.”

Included in the collaboration as part of the team is the Kirmser Ponturo Group’s Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo, who had attained the life rights to the Louis story from Joe Louis Barrow II – all are executive producers on the project. Kirmser Ponturo has produced a series of three sports stories for the stage, most notably “Lombardi.”

Incentives range from $5 to $5,000. For $40, a donor’s name will be on the credits at the end of the film along with a personal thank you tweet from Duke and a limited edition film poster.

For $5,000, the pitch reads: “Invite 29 of your closest friends to join you and Bill Duke for a private screening of one of your favorite Bill Duke films (Predator, Menace II Society,Car Wash, Deep Cover, etc.)  After the screening Mr. Duke will be available for a Q&A…and we’ll provide the theater and popcorn!  You will also receive a thank you tweet from Bill Duke, an autographed film poster and a ‘I Support the Brown Bomber’ Louis vs Schmeling t-shirt!”

“We are not crowdfunding the entire film,” Adler said. “For a period picture, that would be cost-prohibitive and not realistic. We’re offering to bring fans of boxing and of movies into the project, and by so doing not only hope to raise these funds but also involve them in the process.”

More Film

  • The Fault in Our Stars

    Disney Retiring Fox 2000 Label

    Disney will stop making films under the Fox 2000 label, a move that could mean that its head Elizabeth Gabler will not be making the move to the Magic Kingdom, Variety has learned. The decision is surprising because Disney had previously stated that Gabler would stay on board at the studio even after it was [...]

  • Macon Blair27th Annual Gotham Independent Film

    Macon Blair to Direct and Write 'Toxic Avenger' Reboot for Legendary (EXCLUSIVE)

    Macon Blair has been tapped to write and direct Legendary’s reboot of the cult classic “The Toxic Avenger,” sources tell Variety. Legendary acquired the feature film rights in December and have quickly made the project a high priority at the studio. Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz of Troma Entertainment will serve as producers with Alex [...]

  • Danny Boyle Bond 25

    Danny Boyle Calls His Exit From 'Bond 25' a 'Great Shame'

    Director Danny Boyle has finally spoken out after leaving the upcoming 25th James Bond movie over creative differences. After splitting from the new 007 flick last August, Boyle told Empire in a story published on Thursday that the script he penned with his “Trainspotting” co-writer John Hodge “wasn’t finished, but it could have been really [...]

  • Film Review: 'Everybody's Everything'

    Film Review: 'Everybody's Everything'

    An elegiac documentary exploring the brief life of rapper Lil Peep, “Everybody’s Everything” certainly doesn’t lack for perspectives. Interviewing virtually everyone who knew the musician (born Gustav Ahr), directors Sebastian Jones and Ramez Silyan cover the waterfront, from Peep’s family to his girlfriends, his innumerable collaborators, his managers and his fans, trying to distill exactly [...]

  • A Brinks armored truck pulls into

    Fox Layoffs: Distribution and Marketing Leaders Out

    Layoffs have hit Fox following the entertainment company’s sale to Disney. The staff cuts are hitting employees at the SVP, EVP, and president level. Senior staff is expected to be among the first to be impacted. However, the cuts will be deep, with the ax falling hardest of Fox’s film team. There could be as [...]

  • Emily Blunt in Talks for Inspirational

    Emily Blunt in Talks to Star in Annapurna Drama 'Not Fade Away'

    Emily Blunt is in negotiations to star in Annapurna’s inspirational drama “Not Fade Away” with David O. Russell and John Krasinski producing. The project is based on Rebecca Alexander’s 2015 memoir “Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found.” Alexander was born with a rare genetic mutation called Usher syndrome type III and [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' Nabs Nine Nominations for 6th Premios Platino

    As was widely anticipated, Alfonso Cuaron’s triple Oscar-winning “Roma” dominated the 6th Premios Platino nominations, unveiled Thursday at Hollywood’s legendary Roosevelt Hotel, the site of the very first Oscars. It snagged a total of nine nominations, including best film, director, art direction, cinematography, and acting for its two Oscar-nominated actresses, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content