Irish director Lenny Abrahamson's star is really on the rise. After courting international attention with Frank he's now earning incredible notices for his latest feature Room, which could be in the running for Oscar glory next year. And he's already lining up his next project.
Together with frequent producer Ed Guiney, Abrahamson is eyeing the story of boxer Emile Griffith for the biopic treatment. It will be based on the 2015 book A Man's World: The Double Life of Emile Griffith by Donald McRae. The title refers to the fact that Griffith was an acclaimed sportsman and also bixsexual - something which was still illegal in the 1960s and especially condenmed in the world of boxing.
Griffith was a champion boxer in the welterweight and middleweight classes who went down in infamy for a 1962 match where he beat opponent Benny Paret so badly around the head that he later died of his wounds. Accounts say that Paret made homophobic remarks and that Griffith took his anger out in the ring, and also that the victorious boxer was haunted by the experience for years.
There's certainly plenty of material there for an effective and emotional drama, and Abrahamson is relishing the chance, according to a report from Deadline:
“It is so rich that it’s hard to know where to start. As a character study, Griffith is incredibly compelling. There was a gentleness and innocence about him, and he never seemed conflicted about his sexuality; indeed he found joy in it. He inhabited two worlds — the underground gay scene in New York in the ’60s and the macho world of boxing. The societal stigma at that time was dreadful and created a crushing pressure on him.”
Expect more news on this biopic in 2016. Room is in cinemas in Ireland on the 15th of January 2015.