Finally, the “Irish” Micky Ward movie The Fighter is a reality and it’s filming right here in Lowell.
Yesterday afternoon, actor Mark Wahlberg, who will play Lowell boxer Ward, met with scouts for the movie in the lobby of the Lowell DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Lowell to discuss possible locations to film scenes for the feature film.
Potential spots packing a punch in the discussion were Cupples Square in the Highlands section of Lowell, and, specifically, the Highland Tap barroom; the former Foxtail Lounge on Merrimack Street; the now-defunct Route 3 Cinema on Chelmsford Street, just over the line in Chelmsford; and Stevens Street a main thoroughfare in the Highlands where Ward, 43, grew up.
Talk of “dressing up” the Tsongas Arena for a fight scene was bandied about, and Lawrence, the other mill city just down the river, was mentioned, as well.
In addition to Wahlberg, who arrived at the hotel alone wearing sunglasses, Ward’s half-brother, Dicky Eklund, and Rich Farrell, the producer of the HBO documentary High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell, were on hand talking with the scouts.
Actor Christian Bale is reportedly portraying Eklund in the movie, which follows Ward’s boxing career from the streets of Lowell and his rocky relationship with his trainer half brother. Eklund was once a professional fighter himself who fought Sugar Ray Leonard before his battles with addiction.
Filming is set to begin in Lowell this July and will take about seven weeks. The Fighter was originally to be directed by Darren Aronofsky of The Wrestler fame, but according to the Internet Movie Database, www.imdb.com., Aronofsky backed out and was replaced by David O. Russell, who directed I Heart Huckabees and previously worked with Wahlberg on Three Kings.
The Dorchester-born Wahlberg, 37, is the star of such movies as Boogie Nights, The Perfect Storm, Shooter and The Happening, and was nominated for best supporting actor for 2006′s The Departed.