Bruce Willis to star as Mike Tyson’s trainer in ‘Cornerman’ for director Rupert Friend

Bruce Willis will star as Mike Tyson’s boxing trainer Cus D’Amato in the indie “Cornerman,” which will also mark the feature directing debut for “Homeland” actor Rupert Friend.

“Cornerman” takes place in the Catskills region of New York during the early 1980s. Constantine ‘Cus’ D’Amato (Willis) is a reluctantly retired boxing coach who in his heyday discovered and trained some of the greatest heavyweight world champions.

Now, along his long-time partner Camille, he runs a small gym where he and his trainers, including lithe former street-brawler Teddy Atlas, coach young contenders. But the backer of the gym is pressuring him to find a real competitor and secure Cus’ professional legacy. So, when a friend drops by with 13-year-old Mike Tyson, Cus is intrigued.

Mike gets into trouble with his fists, displaying his raw but incredibly powerful talent. Seeing the kid’s extraordinary potential, Cus enrolls him in his gym and welcomes him in his home, determined to turn the mercurial hothead into the youngest-ever heavyweight world champion.

Producers will begin a worldwide search for the actor who will portray Mike Tyson.

Friend also wrote the script and will produce with Aimée Mullins for Circus Florist Films, and Marc Butan and Ara Keshishian of MadRiver Pictures.

Production on the film is slated to begin this fall. CAA is handling U.S. rights for the film, and IMR International will begin foreign sales in Cannes this week.

“Ultimately, this is a story about a deep love between two ferocious talents, each brave enough to admit their fears to the other, and so spur one another to greatness,” Friend said in a statement. “It is a story about fighting for what you believe in, and a film that will make you question what strength really is.”

Willis is represented by CAA. Friend is represented by CAA and 42.