Cloris Leachman joins cast of 'Raging Bull II'; What you need to know about the movie

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RAGING BULL (1980) Directed by: Martin Scorsese Starring: Robert DeNiro, Cathy Moriarty-Gentile and Joe …

Deadline reports Oscar-winning actress Cloris Leachman has signed on to star in the upcoming sequel "Raging Bull II." Directed by Martin Guigui, the film promises to be both a prequel and sequel to the original Martin Scorsese classic from 1980. The movie is based on the book "Raging Bull II," written by Jake LaMotta.

"Raging Bull"

"Raging Bull," directed by Martin Scorsese, tells the true story of former heavyweight boxer Jake LaMotta. The film is one of Scorsese's masterpieces, often cited as one of the movies that should have won Best Picture at the Oscars but fell to a lesser effort. Shot in beautiful black and white, "Raging Bull" contains some of the best boxing action ever caught on film.

However, while the movie did not win Best Picture or Best Director, it did nab Robert De Niro the Oscar for Best Actor. In a role that has almost defined his career, De Niro took on the role of LaMotta in his prime and then packed on 60 pounds through a diet of pasta in order to play the pugilist after his boxing career was over. De Niro became the model for all actors to follow when changing their appearance for a role.

The movie was also extremely violent, as were most Scorsese movies of the era. The violence was not relegated to in-ring action, including scenes where LaMotta let loose on his brother and his wife in harrowing bouts of anger. By juxtaposing the boxing action and the violent acts outside the ring, Scorsese was able to create a complex drama that transcended sports cinema.

"Raging Bull II"

The news that "Raging Bull II" is currently shooting in Los Angeles might come as a shock to those who still consider Scorsese's classic a masterpiece. However, it is shooting under the guidance of director Martin Guigui, whose last movie was the Dennis Quaid thriller "Beneath the Darkness."

While neither Scorsese nor De Niro will be involved, the sequel/prequel marches on anyway. Guigui promises the movie will delve more into LaMotta's life story, showing LaMotta as a child before examining his life at 34 and 73.

Now at 90, LaMotta himself is serving as a consultant once again.

The Cast

William Forsythe ("The Devil's Rejects") stars as the adult LaMotta this time around. He is joined in the cast by an impressive list of actors, giving some hope to the project. Joe Mantegna, Paul Sorvino, Natasha Henstridge, Ray Wise, Tom Sizemore, and now Cloris Leachman help fill in the cast.

When asked about the need for a remake, Forsythe said: "I understand that because it's such an iconic, beautiful and amazing first film -- one of the great films maybe of all time. But our story has a lot more heart and I think it's a beautiful depiction of who Jake really is."

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