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New movie planned on life of Brockton’s Rocky Marciano

Joe Walcott's face absorbed a blow from Rocky Marciano.

Bettmann/Corbis/1952

Joe Walcott's face absorbed a blow from Rocky Marciano.

A movie about an iconic heavyweight boxing champion named Rocky is in the works.

Rocky Marciano, born and raised in Brockton, is a local hero known for his extraordinarily successful heavyweight boxing career, from which he retired, undefeated, in 1956 at age 32, after 49 fights.

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Marciano has been far from forgotten since his death in a 1969 plane crash the day before his 46th birthday. In May 1999, Brockton declared “Rocky Marciano Month — Celebration of a Hometown Hero,” as the US Postal Service prepared to unveil a postage stamp in his honor. A larger-than-life replica of Rocky was revealed in the form of a statue in the city in September 2012.

Now, Rocky will be commemorated in another medium, on film. Recently, the Marciano family signed with City of Peace Films, based in Tennessee, and director Dustin Marcellino, to bring Rocky’s story to the silver screen.

“My father is still counted as one of the greatest heavyweight fighters of all time and if he were alive today, he would be proud that we are working to bring the true story of his life to the big screen,” said his son, Rocky Marciano Jr., in a statement from City of Peace Films.

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The partnership came through a family friend, said Rocky’s sister, Betty Colombo, 82, in a telephone interview. The friend, also friends with the Marcellinos, brought the two families together, she said. Marcellino, the director, said in a statement that Rocky was a favorite of his great-grandfather’s, prompting him to want to follow the story through film.

“I’m very, very excited about [the film],” Colombo said. “I think it’s going to make us feel very good to see something that’s authentic.”

When she says this movie will be authentic, Colombo is referring to two previous made-for-TV movies made about Rocky Marciano, neither of which the family considered very accurate, she said.

“The first movie was awful,” Colombo said. “The second one I’m not really too familiar with ... but neither one of them were ever thought to be great movies.”

The film, announced today, will be partially filmed in Brockton. Production is expected to start next year.

The biopic, called “49-0 / The Brockton Blockbuster,” was originally reported by the Brockton Enterprise on Tuesday.

“They love Rocky,” Colombo said of the Marcellinos. “They’re very impressed with what he did and his life, so I think they’ll build on what they didn’t like from the first two [movies]...and improve on those, I’m sure.”

Kiera Blessing can be reached at kiera.blessing@globe.com.
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