Grandchamp, Local Boxing Legend, Ready to Film Life Story
Gail 'Champ' Grandchamp is finally ready to begin shooting the story of her struggle to become a boxer. She expects filming to begin in and around the city this summer.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Gail Grandchamp can't sit still.
The professional boxer turned personal trainer has about dozen ideas floating above her head at all times.
When she's not riffing on the people she's met in the boxing world, she's talking branding or healthy living, or waxing rhapsodic about the beauty of the Berkshires.
All those aspects of her life are about to come together in one grand venture: A film about her struggles for the right to step into the boxing ring.
"I'm so excited," Grandchamp said on Wednesday in her small State Street training studio filled with memorabilia and merchandise.
She expects "A Fighter With Heart," based on her 2006 self-published book, to begin filming this summer in the city. The North Adams native also wants to make sure the city and the Berkshires feature prominently in the film.
"I believe in this community," she said. "I think we have the most gifted and talented people in the world right here in the Berkshires."
Grandchamp wants her movie, which she is funding, to benefit the area by also noting local businesses and the area's natural resources. She also wants the community to be proud of her efforts "to produce the best movie the world has ever seen."
"I am fortunate to live in such a beautiful area and I'm proud of our community," she said. "I will promote the whole area with great pride and respect and send a positive message."
Grandchamp wants to make sure the film is done right. It was shopped around Hollywood for a few years but she was determined to the keep the rights to the film. So she set about learning about film production, getting a diploma from the Hollywood Film Institute, and writing the script with independent producer/director Scott Morgan, who will also direct.
"We have a timeline, we have a budget," she said. "I want people to know when they see them [camera crews, actors] that they are working on the movie."
Grandchamp said the casting's done, but she's keeping mum on who's in the film for now. A local music group has been pegged to do the soundtrack but she's hoping to land an international name for the film's song.
She's reached out to Christina Aguilera as having the strength and power for a story about boxing.
"I want somebody that is this good... I want a strong woman for a strong movie," she said.
Grandchamp's story on a T-shirt.
Grandchamp's tale is well known in the Berkshires. She fought for eight years to get women recognized as amateur boxers in Massachusetts, resulting in a 1992 court ruling that forced the U.S. Amateur Boxing Federation to follow suit. It was too late for Grandchamp, who'd aged out, but she fought as the state's first professional woman boxer with a 12-5 record. Her first bout was at the Mohawk Theater on July 17, 1987; the poster for that fight is still hanging in her gym.
She continued to advocate for women athletes, and was honored by the Legislature in 2012 for her efforts when the Olympics finally added women's boxing as a sport.
The "Champ's" tried to pick a fight with Muhammad Ali's daughter, wrote a book, run several businesses, and is now embarking as a producer on her very first feature film. A peek at the script for "A Fighter With Heart" shows Grandchamp won't be pulling any punches onscreen either.
"There's a lot of action in this, a lot of action," she said.
But there will be a lot of scenery as well — Grandchamp wants anyone seeing the film to experience the region's four seasons, its beauty and its serenity.
"I've been here all my life. I'm going to showcase the Berkshires ... the beauty of the Berkshires," she said. "Now it's time to put my skills into action."
Tags: boxing, filmmaker, movie,
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