Helmed by director Rob Margolies, ‘Bobcat Moretti’ follows an incredible journey of self-transformation of an overweight man, who decides to take up boxing and follow in the footsteps of his late father. Tim Realbuto is suffering from Multiple Sclerosis on top of obesity. He has had a mentally scarring past and is at a low point in his life. To deal with it, he runs into Jo Wallis, a gym owner and boxing coach, who shows him some tough love and motivates him to start a life-changing journey through competitive boxing. The heartwrenching drama involves a series of dark pitfalls for Moretti, only for him to claw his way out of them, transformed.
Is Bobcat Moretti Based on True Events?
While ‘Bobcat Moretti,’ is a work of fiction, it is loosely based on the real transformation of lead actor and writer, Tim Realbuto, who also serves as the co-screenwriter alongside Rob Margolies. In 2020, the actor was over 400 pounds and took it upon himself to create a story through which he would realize his goal of physical health. The movie’s first half was shot featuring the actor in his plus-size state, after which the film crew went on hiatus for ten months, giving the actor time to lose as much weight as possible. Tim went on a hardcore fat-burning routine, hitting the gym daily and having a large calorie deficit in his diet, largely sustaining himself on salads and vegetables.
In the meantime, three alternative scripts for shooting the rest of the film were sitting ready for him — the first was in case of him being unable to achieve his transformation, the second for a successful weight loss journey, and the over-ambitious final one for him achieving a standard model physique. In an incredible feat of mental fortitude and resolve, Tim Realbuto lost 154 pounds, breaking the world record for most weight lost for a movie, previously held by Christian Bale for ‘The Machinist’ at 62 pounds lost.
Besides his decreasing mass, Realbuto also brings to the story some elements of his personal life. His mother has Multiple Sclerosis in real life, and Moretti has the same ailment as a tribute to her. Despite having won multiple awards for his acting, Realbuto shares that his work in ‘Bobcat Moretti’ is what gives him the most pride in his career and himself. Speaking of the journey in an interview with Canvas Rebel, he said, “It wasn’t my acting that made me most proud, but more the way I pushed myself.”
Realbuto added, “I achieved some things during the filming of the movie that I never thought possible, including losing 154 pounds for the role in the middle of shooting. It’s the most weight an actor has ever lost for a film role and I’m very proud of that. Of course, I had an entire village of people helping me along the way, but it’s something I never thought I could do.” Aside from ‘Bobcat Moretti,’ there have been some films that have evoked a similar physical transformation from their actors, losing considerable amounts of weight during filming.
‘Hunger’ saw Michael Fassbender lose 40 pounds to play the IRA hunger striker, Bobby Sands, as the character is pushed to his physical limits in protest. In a similar manner, in ‘Silence,’ Adam Driver plays a Jesuit priest who becomes increasingly frail as he travels the world. To portray the change authentically, the actor lost 51 pounds before and during filming. Another mindboggling transformation was made in a few months by Aamir Khan for the Indian sports movie, ‘Dangal.’ The actor went from portraying his character’s older self at 212 pounds to filming scenes of his younger days at 150 pounds.
Director Rob Margolies personally knew Tim Realbuto for a few years before directing the film and recognized his script as a passion project that reflected a lot of Realbuto in the character and his story. ‘Bobcat Moretti’ was thus envisioned by Tim Realbuto to accompany his weight-loss journey, creating a work of fictional and real-life inspiration, for finding strength even during the biggest struggles in one’s life.