Writer-director Noah Buschel told me the reason he cast Corey Stoll as the lead in his boxing film “Glass Chin,” which premiered Saturday night at the Tribeca Film Festival, was because of the actor’s neck.
“Corey was the only American male with a thick neck who could really act because the rest of them are Australians. We don’t have any Robert Mitchums anymore, so Corey’s really what we’ve got.”
Stoll plays Bud “The Saint” Gordon, a washed up boxer who lost it all – nice apartment, public love and fame – after an unlucky jab to his chin.
Buschel, a burly and gregarious man, told me his film was a homage to the genre. “I just wanted to make something with boxing in it like ‘On the Waterfront’ and pay tribute to those kinds of movies with people like Marlon Brando.” He added, “I had the chicken pox when I was six years old and ‘On the Waterfront’ was on Cinemax. That’s kind of why I want to make this movie.”
Well-known New York theater actress Marin Ireland plays Bud’s girlfriend Ellen. “They live in New Jersey together and she’s really trying to push him to make a better life for himself and for them and better himself from the inside out,” she told me on the red carpet when I asked her to describe her role.
The most challenging part of the movie, she told me, was leaving the set. “Whenever you’re doing a movie like this, you feel very intimate with the people involved and you don’t want to leave. So the hardest thing for me was actually the days I wasn’t working, and then you kind of come back after a few days and I just wanted to stay all the time. That sounds sentimental,” she laughed, “but I really felt very close to everybody in this process.”
Movies about wasted lives and broken dreams always sound grim, and the actress conceded. “There’s a bleakness to it in terms of a bigger philosophy of life, but maybe it’s because my path through the movie was close to Corey’s character, so the two of us had more. I felt very familial with him.”
She’s recently branched out into television and just shot the first season of a new series titled “The Divide” that will air in mid-July. It’s WE TV’s first scripted series and is co-created by Tony Goldwyn and Richard Gravanese, the latter who is the brainchild behind the show, which Ireland described as a legal thriller. “I’m really excited about it,” she told me.
I’ve been a big fan of Corey Stoll’s work since his portrayal of the complicated and sexy Congressional representative Peter Russo in “House of Cards.” His drug addicted and self-destructive character was on an emotional downward spiral since the show began, and he finally got bumped off by Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) at the end of last season.
I have been in personal mourning since his character died, I told Stoll on the red carpet. “I see. You’re still wearing black,” he quipped, noting my traditional New York uniform of all black.
Stoll told me his character’s demise was no surprise to him. “I knew about it from the first meeting with David Fincher, so it made it a lot easier.”
I asked him if he needed to learn boxing moves or get into shape for “Glass Chin.” “I’m playing an ex-boxer who’s totally out of shape, so it was pretty great,” he laughed. “I got to have as much beer and burritos as I wanted.”
The shoot was a year ago, and the actor is whippet thin again. The only preparation he did was go to Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn where they shot the training scenes, and he worked with actor Malcolm Xavier, who plays Kid Sunshine, the young boxer he trains. “Just to sort of get a sense of the sights and sounds and smells of the gym and to sort of get into it, but I never threw a punch,” Stoll said.
“House of Cards” was a breakout role for Stoll, and he’s got at least five movies coming out, including the hotly anticipated “Ant-Man,” starring Paul Rudd.
“I really don’t think I can tell you anything,” he said when I pressed for details about the movie, which is helmed by Edgar Wright, the director of “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead.”
“It’s going to be awesome,” Stoll enthused. “It’s a great script, and it’s an incredible cast, and Edgar Wright makes really great, fun films.”