Irish boxer John Duddy lands top movie role with Robert de Niro
The 35-year-old former middle weight is set to play legendary fighter Ken Buchanan in Hands Of Stone after intervention from star
By Maurice Fitzmaurice - irishmirror.ie
A Northern Ireland boxer turned actor has landed a new role - thanks to a phonecall from Robert de Niro.
John Duddy is playing fighter Ken Buchanan in the movie Hands of Stone about boxer Roberto Duran.
Ireland's John Duddy had a great career in the States
Duddy, known as the Derry Destroyer, told the New York Times that De Niro later made a phonecall on his behalf to cast him in the film which stars De Niro as Duran’s former trainer, Ray Arcel. Duddy has already filmed scenes in Los Angeles and in Duran’s native Panama. The movie is scheduled for release next year.
The 35-year-old former middle-weight worked on the set of last year’s movie Grudge Match - a comedy about aging fighters starring Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone - to advise on boxing scenes with De Niro. He and De Niro formed what Duddy calls “a bit of a friendship and a great rapport” in the six weeks they worked together.
While trying to get acting parts after retiring from boxing in 2011 he works as a removal man for a company based in the Bronx area of New York “until the next best thing comes along”.
Duddy, who lives in Queens with his wife Grainne, a bar hostess, filmed scenes in Los Angeles and Duran’s native Panama for his role as Scottish fighter Ken Buchanan.
Robert De Niro will step back in to the ring as Roberto Duran
He added: “Being involved in a project like that was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
“In one scene we were filming a news conference when it finally hit me. I’m standing there thinking: ‘Oh my God, I’m shooting a scene with Robert De Niro’.”
The fighter also told the Times he does not feel he made as money from boxing as he could have, adding: “I never knew how much money my fights generated, or how much money was coming in or going out”.
Duddy still gets approached by boxing fans on the streets of New York.
He added: “I was very fortunate that New Yorkers took me under their wing. There are so many working-class people in this city, and I was a working-class fighter. That’s why we connected. It’s wonderful to know that some people haven’t forgotten what I did in the ring.
“And hopefully, one day, they’ll also remember me for what I accomplished on the stage and on screen.”
Known as the Derry Destroyer and Ireland’s John Duddy, a career highlight came at Madison Square Garden in 2006 when he defeated Luis Campas.
The 35-year-old retired from boxing in 2011 with a record of 29 victories (18 KOs) and two losses.
Since then he has played the title role in Kid Shamrock, a 2011 Off-Broadway production based on the life of former boxer Bobby Cassidy.
In 2013 he thrilled theatre audiences in romantic comedy For Love, and also played a boxer in the Bon Jovi video for Because We Can.
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