Like the scrappy underdogs they so often lionize, boxing movies refuse to stay down for the count. This isn’t surprising, considering that last year’s “Southpaw” and “Creed” demonstrated the genre’s continued financial viability, but what does surprise is that so many of these films remain such worthy competitors — “Creed” was one of 2015’s best studio efforts. Entering the ring next is the teaser for Jonathan Jakubowicz’s “Hands of Stone,” a based-on-fact tale of pugilism starring Robert De Niro and Édgar Ramírez.
If you’re aware of each actor’s approximate age and/or literally any boxing movie ever, you’ve likely already deduced that De Niro will be playing the trainer to Ramírez’s fighter. The boxer in question is Panamanian Roberto Durán, whose nickname lends “Hands of Stone” its title. Durán debuted at a young age and didn’t retire until the age of 50, in 2002; throughout the prior decades, he earned a reputation as one of the greatest to ever put on a pair of gloves. The teaser hints at the lead-up to his famous confrontation with Sugar Ray Leonard, played here by Usher Raymond IV.
Ramírez came to international attention for his leading turn in “Carlos,” a five-hour miniseries about Carlos the Jackal directed by Olivier Assayas. He’s since appeared in supporting roles in several Hollywood productions, including last year’s “Point Break” and “Joy.” This looks to be his highest-profile leading role in Tinseltown thus far. “Hands of Stone” will be released on August 26 by the Weinstein Company, who also distributed “Southpaw.”