Bruce Willis Will Play Mike Tyson’s Legendary Boxing Trainer, Cus D’Amato, in ‘Cornerman’

Legendary boxing coach Cus D'Amato and actor Bruce Willis
Legendary boxing coach Cus D'Amato and actor Bruce Willis  New York Daily News Archive (left); Kris Connor / Contributor (right) / Getty Images

Bruce Willis is stepping up to play famed boxing trainer Cus D’Amato in the biopic Cornerman, written and directed by Rupert Friend, Deadline reports.

Over the course of his career, D’Amato managed and trained the likes of Mike Tyson, Floyd Patterson, and José Torres—all of whom have been inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

The film will narrate D’Amato’s career, first as a featherweight and lightweight amateur, then as a coach. While he never got a professional license, per Britannica, D’Amato was undeniably successful. He taught Tyson the “peekaboo” boxing style (continuously bobbing in the ring while keeping your hands close to your face) that made him practically untouchable.

D’Amato coached upstate New York in the Catskills, which is where the film will take place, according to Deadline. It’s set in the 1980s when D’Amato and his partner Camille Ewald trained kids, transforming them from brawlers to boxers. One of them: 13-year-old Mike Tyson (D’Amato later became his legal guardian).

There’s no word yet on the actor who will play Tyson, opposite Bruce Willis. But one thing’s for sure: The two actors will have to portray a truly unique bond, as D’Amato and Tyson became something of a family—with Tyson considering D’Amato a father figure.

“My manager, Cus D’Amato, said we should try our best to be humble in life,” Mike Tyson previously told Men’s Journal. “Because if you’re not humble in this world, this world will serve humbleness upon you. I would have been in a lot of trouble without Cus. He told me, ‘The reason why you did well as a fighter is because I got a hold of your mind early.’”