Having a grandfather who found his way out of two concentration camps, I'm used to World War 2 stories that have a happy ending. However, for every person like my grandfather, there's many more who didn't make it out. One of them was Victor 'Young' Perez, which makes this upcoming sports biopic one of those heart-wrenching, box-of-tissue sort of affairs.

The Hollywood Reporter has posted that French actor Nicolas Cazale has signed on to play Perez in the upcoming biopic to be directed by Steve Suissa and penned by Suissa and Stéphane Cabel. The Tunisian-born Jewish boxer was the youngest man to ever win a flyweight championship at the age of 20 in 1931.* After a solid professional career that brought him another championship, 92 wins, 26 losses, and 15 draws, he retired in 1938. However, this wasn't the end of his "career." During the war, the boxer was deported from France by the French militia and sent to Auschwitz in 1943. There, he was forced to box in matches for the entertainment of his Nazi captors. He was one of 31 survivors from the original 1,000 that arrived at the camp with him, but was ultimately shot and killed during a Death March out of the camp as Allied troops neared.

Cazale says: "It's a terrific script based on a fabulous but largely forgotten story. It's not really a film about boxing, it's more the story of a man with real values." Suissa, meanwhile, has a personal connection to the story -- his grandfather used to live in the same building as the boxer in Tunisia. Currently, the production is looking to secure more backers, and then will shoot in Paris and Tunis.

See remake mongers? There's lots of uncovered stories out there, you just have to get off yer arses and look!

* THR says 21, but Wikipedia says he was born in 1911, and won the title in 1931.
categories Cinematical