The Fighter 2 will put Ward and Gatti back in the ring, says Mark Wahlberg
Star of The Fighter says sequel to Oscar-winning boxing drama will centre on Micky Ward's trio of fights with rival Arturo Gatti
The proposed sequel to Oscar-winning boxing drama The Fighter will centre on Boston boxer "Irish" Micky Ward's legendary trio of fights with light welterweight rival Arturo Gatti, star Mark Wahlberg has said.
The Fighter, directed by David O Russell, concluded with Ward's victorious title bout for the WBU light welterweight championship with Britain's Shea Neary in 2000 at the age of 35, leaving the door open for a sequel focusing on his later rivalry with Gatti.
Christian Bale won a best supporting actor Academy Award in 2011 for his performance as Ward's half-brother and trainer Dicky Eklund, who oversaw his sibling's Rocky-like trip to victory despite his own struggles with addiction. Melissa Leo was victorious in the best supporting actress category for her turn as Ward's mother and one-time manager Alice.
Wahlberg, who played Ward, told Digital Spy the second film was "not really a follow-up to The Fighter". He added: "It's ... much more of a study of Micky Ward and his relationship that formed from that first fight with Gatti. They became very close... and still went in the ring to try to kill each other."
The first and third of Ward's trio of extremely close and hard-fought back-to-back bouts with Gatti were named Fight of the Year by boxing magazine Ring for 2002 and 2003 and saw both fighters requiring post-match hospital treatment. Ward won the first fight but was narrowly defeated in the subsequent two.
Wahlberg said earlier this year that he wanted Contraband director Baltasar Kormákur to consider directing the sequel, with Russell no longer involved due to disagreements over the screenplay. The actor told The Playlist: "We got to do that film before I get too old. So maybe in the next year, year and a half. We have to wait for the script, and then we'll choose a director."
So far there's no word on whether Bale and Leo will reprise their Oscar-winning roles.