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If you're casting an older actor to play the role of Sylvester Stallone's ringside coach, you couldn't do much better than Burgess Meredith, who starred as Mickey Goldmill in four of the first five Rocky movies. Sadly, however, Meredith died in 1997. So who would be the best possible actor to take the role today? The new movie Grudge Match has found him.
Variety reports that the boxing feature, which pits Stallone up against Robert De Niro (a la Rocky Balboa vs. Jake La Motta) is now in talks with Alan Arkin to play Stallone's trainer. The film is being directed by Peter Segal (Tommy Boy, Anger Management) and is based on a script by Tim Kelleher (First Kid).
The story follows Henry 'Razor' Sharp (Stallone) and Billy 'The Kid' McGuigan (Robert De Niro), two fighters who end their careers on the same night. The Kid, who lost the fight and was denied a rematch, becomes an out-of-shape restaurant owner, but sees his life turn around when the opportunity arises to get back in the ring against Razor and win his pride back. Arkin's role plays to the softer side of Razor, as Stallone's character is fighting to pay his trainer's medical bills. Kim Basinger and Kevin Hart also have roles in the movie.
Arkin is quite possibly looking at another Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Academy Awards this year for his performance in Ben Affleck's Argo, but he doesn't really need the career boost. The crime comedy Stand Up Guys will be in theaters in February, the Steve Carell-Jim Carrey magician comedy Burt Wonderstone will be in theaters this March, and he is preparing for production on the comedy Wild Oats with Jack Black. Should he sign on for Grudge Match it will be a reunion with Segal, with whom he worked on Get Smart.