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‘Chuck’ documentary to have special screening at Red Rivers

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    Carl Hampe was one of the producers on "Chuck," the real life story of Chuck Wepner and just so happens to be a native of Hopkinton. Tonight, there will be a special screening of the film with a Q and A session with Hampe via Skype. Courtesy—

Concord Insider
Published: 6/6/2017 12:28:29 AM

Carl Hampe grew up just outside the big city lights of Concord. Now, one of the films he helped produce is playing on the big screen at Red River Theatres.

Chuck is the real-life story of the real-life Rocky Balboa. It tells the story of heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner (played by Liev Schreiber), who fought Muhammad Ali in 1975, scoring a knockdown and almost making it the full 15 rounds with the heavyweight champion of the world before falling by TKO.

“I was completely unfamiliar with (the story), which is what kept me intrigued,” said Hampe, a native of Hopkinton.

But it was also a tough movie idea to pitch. If you aren’t familiar with the backstory, it’s widely accepted that the basis for the original Rocky, written by Sylvester Stallone (who as you probably know starred as Rocky) was based off that fight.

“It’s the real Rocky, but people build expectations,” Hampe said. “It’s really the story of the guy who realizes he’s Rocky.”

It has generated a ton of great reviews after screenings at well-known film festivals in Venice and Toronto, and now you have a chance to see it for yourself and decide what you think.

“I’m really proud of the movie and how it’s done,” Hampe said.

It had a short run at Red River late last month, and is now being brought back for a special one-night-only screening tonight with an extra special incentive – a question-and-answer session with Hampe.

Unfortunately, Hampe won’t physically be at Red River, where his sister Rachel is on the board of trustees, due to his hectic work schedule that is slated to soon take him to Bulgaria for an extended period to work on his latest project, a Hellboy reboot under a new director.

But thanks to modern technology, Hampe will check in via Skype and answer any and all questions you have about the movie, as well as his work as a producer.

Because as you might be able to guess, the business of making films is a tricky one.

Hampe began working on the idea for the film in 2011, but it wasn’t until the fall of 2015 when filming actual began.

“We had multiple times when we thought it was going to happen and then it fell apart,” Hampe said. “But that’s the totally normal path of making an indy movie. That’s just the nature of the beast.”

Once the financial backing was there, the filming took place in New York and Bulgaria. But even as a planned independent film, Hampe said it was written like a big studio production.

As a producer, Hampe was tasked with developing the script, putting together a cast and staff and helping pick a director. But he didn’t have to do it all on his own thanks to his partners in crime, aka fellow producers, Lati Grobman, Christa Campbell and Michael Tollin.

“It’s a collaborative effort for sure,” Hampe said.

Outside of his work on Chuck, Hampe has held producer roles on the remake of Point Break, Chasing Mavericks and even Slumdog Millionaire – before it was taken over by Fox and became a huge success.

“It’s a fun universe I play in, but it’s a difficult business I work in,” he said.

Hampe first got interested in film when he took a mass media course during the advanced studies program at St. Paul’s School.

“My first instinct was ‘You can get paid to watch movies? That’s great,’ ” he said.

He went on to study film at Wesleyan University and then like most in his line of work, moved to Los Angeles.

Hampe worked for some bigger movie making companies, but is now an independent producer.

“Freelancing as a producer is a bit of a wild ride,” Hampe said. “I’m still trying to build a career and take the best opportunities that come to me.”

The special screening will take place Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Red River. For tickets, visit redrivertheatres.org/2017/05/chuck-now-playing.


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