Grindstone Takes Ving Rhames' Boxing Movie Uppercut for North America

Grindstone Entertainment are getting into the ring with Ving Rhames.

Grindstone have picked up all rights in North America for Uppercut, a boxing thriller starring the Mission Impossible and Pulp Fiction actor as a trainer who agrees to take on a new female fighter.

The English-language debut of German writer/director Torsten Ruether, Uppercut is an adaptation of Ruether’s 2021 feature Leberhaken. Both the German and English film’s star Luiii, aka Luise Großmann, a former professional pole vaulter-turned-actress. Joanna Cassidy (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and Jordan E. Cooper (Ain’t No Mo) co-star in Uppercut.

Ving Rhames and Luiii in Uppercut


Hello Moment Productions are the lead producer on Uppercut. Sublimity Entertainment are handling world sales on the film and pitching it to buyers at the Cannes film market this year.

Set in New York City in 2014, the film follows Toni (Luiii), as she seeks out Elliott (Rhames), a former boxer turned gym owner in gritty Bushwick. Elliott first refuses to train her but an unexpected bond grows between the unlikely pair, breaking through social, racial and personal boundaries.

Years later, Toni, now a pioneering female boxing manager, is sheepherding Payne (Cooper) to his first
championship fight, drawing upon the wisdom she learned from Elliott, and with everything, even the fate of her young daughter, on the line.

Leberhaken opened the Oldenburg Film Festival in 2021. At the opening night party, U.S. producers approached Ruether with the idea of doing a U.S. remake. Ruether gave them two: A stripped-down arthouse version of the story, which closed last year’s Oldenburg festival, and the more mainstream version that Grindhouse will release.

Feig Finkel LLP negotiated the deal on behalf of the producers while Alfredo Lara Orbezo and Ryan
McCombs from Sublimity Entertainment brokered the deal with Stan Wertlieb from Grindstone

Ruether and Grossmann produced Uppercut together with Matthew Berkowitz (A Violent Man),
Josef Brandmaier (Iron Sky: The Coming Race) and Stephen Castor. Jim Rygiel was executive producer, with Riccardo Maddalosso serving as co-executive producer.

Wertlieb called Uppercut “a fight fan’s must see. Ving Rhames and Luiii deliver powerful and
heartfelt performances.

“Ving Rhames has delivered another powerhouse performance while forging incredible chemistry with Luiii, and we have a fantastic production crew led by Matthew,” said Ruether. “We’re thrilled to have such a distinguished and influential team bringing our film to audiences and to international buyers, and we’re looking forward to keeping moviegoers on the edge of their seats.”

Grindstone has a long-standing film slate deal with Lionsgate to boost the release of its genre titles on day-and-date theatrical/VOD. The company has not yet set a U.S. release date for Uppercut.

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