Sydney Sweeney Steps into the Ring to Play Legendary Boxer Christy Martin in Upcoming Biopic Directed by David Michôd
Sydney Sweeney Steps into the Ring to Play Legendary Boxer Christy Martin in Upcoming Biopic Directed by David Michôd

Sydney Sweeney Steps into the Ring to Play Legendary Boxer Christy Martin in Upcoming Biopic Directed by David Michôd

Sydney Sweeney, hot off the success of her recent rom-com *Anyone But You* and the horror film *Immaculate*, is taking on a new challenge. She will portray pioneering boxer Christy Martin in a biopic that promises to be a highlight at the Cannes market, where Black Bear will introduce the project.

Directed by Australian filmmaker David Michôd, known for his intense films like *Animal Kingdom* and *The King*, this untitled film will chronicle Martin’s journey to fame as America’s most celebrated female boxer of the 1990s. Dubbed the “female Rocky” by the film’s producers, Martin’s career took off in 1989 when she met her manager and future husband, Jim Martin. Breaking barriers, she became the first woman to sign with renowned promoter Don King and graced the cover of *Sports Illustrated*. Her dynamic presence in the ring earned her the welterweight champion title and a loyal fan base. However, her public success masked personal battles, including toxic relationships and a near-fatal attack.

Sweeney, a passionate advocate for boxing and MMA, shared her enthusiasm for the role with Deadline: “I trained in grappling and kickboxing from ages 12 to 19. I’ve been eager to get back into training for this role. Christy’s story is both physically and emotionally demanding, but I’m excited for the challenge.”

She added, “Christy Martin not only legitimized female boxing but also broke through gender stereotypes and survived severe personal hardships. I’m committed to telling her powerful and emotional story.”

Michôd expressed his interest in the project, stating, “I’ve often made films about troubled men, and I wanted to explore a woman with a fierce spirit. Christy’s story, with its raw intensity and justification, captivated me.”

The film is set to begin shooting in the U.S. this fall. Black Bear, which recently worked with Sweeney on *Immaculate*, will present the project to international buyers at the Cannes market, with UTA Independent Film Group, AC Independent, and Black Bear co-representing U.S. rights. Additional casting is currently underway.

Michôd explained the film’s focus: “It’s about Christy as a young gay woman in conservative West Virginia during the 1990s. Boxing became her outlet for expression and rage, leading to critical life compromises, including marrying a dangerous man.”

The screenplay, co-written by Mirrah Foulkes (*Judy & Punch*) and Michôd, is produced by Kerry Kohansky-Roberts for Anonymous Content, Michôd for Yoki, Justin Lothrop and Brent Stiefel for Votiv, Sweeney for Fifty-Fifty Films, and Teddy Schwarzman for Black Bear, which is also financing the film. Martin herself has been actively involved in the project’s development.

Producer Kohansky-Roberts, whose father worked for *Sports Illustrated*, remarked, “Achieving the cover of *Sports Illustrated* was remarkable, especially for a female boxer. Christy paved the way for future generations of boxers and MMA fighters.”

Michôd praised Sweeney’s talent, noting, “Her performance in *Reality* was stunning. She’s been athletic since childhood and has a passion for the fight world.”

Michôd’s notable works include the acclaimed 2010 crime-drama *Animal Kingdom* and collaborations with stars like Robert Pattinson, Brad Pitt, and Timothée Chalamet. He is currently finishing *Wizards!* for A24 and Plan B.

Executive producers for the film include Michael Heimler, John Friedberg, Mirrah Foulkes, Brad Zimmerman, David Levine, Ryan Schwartz, and Nick Shumaker.

Black Bear’s Teddy Schwarzman expressed enthusiasm: “We’re thrilled to work again with Sydney Sweeney, a phenomenal talent, and to collaborate with David Michôd. Christy Martin’s story is epic, and our film will deliver an unforgettable experience.”

Sweeney is represented by Paradigm and Stuart Brookman, Michôd by UTA, Alan Wertheimer, and Jackoway Austen, and Foulkes by UTA, Untitled Entertainment, and Hirsch Wallerstein.

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