Deadline has revealed Room director Lenny Abrahamson’s next project. The director will tackle the life of boxer Emile Griffith who won titles in two weight classes but is best known for killing Benny “The Kid” Paret in a televised fight. Griffith led a secret life as a bisexual man and at the weigh-in for the fateful fight, Paret called Griffith a “homosexual” as a form of trash talk.
The film will be based on the book A Man’s World: The Double Life of Emile Griffith by Donald McRae who will co-write the film. Abrahamson said the project will be a character study on Griffith.
There was a gentleness and innocence about him, and he never seemed conflicted about his sexuality; indeed he found joy in it. He inhabited two worlds — the underground gay scene in New York in the ’60s and the macho world of boxing. The societal stigma at that time was dreadful and created a crushing pressure on him.
After accidentally killing Paret, Griffith became vilified in in the boxing community. He continued fighting but never reached the heights of his earlier career. Griffith was later beat by a group of teenagers, as he exited a gay club. He later died in 2013 of dementia.
This news is coming just as Abrahamson’s latest film Room, already a critical and art-house success, is set to release wide on November 25. Critics have widely praised the film, making it an early frontrunner leading into awards season for the film as well as its star Brie Larson (Short Term 12). Abrahamson also directed the quirky 2013 comedy Frank, which starred Michael Fassbender.
A Man’s World is still very much in pre-production and more will likely develop after Abrahamson finishes his awards campaign for Room.