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Edge Hill professor’s books inspire filming of Hollywood boxing blockbuster

May 28, 2024

AN Edge Hill University professor is ready to swap the lecture theatre for Hollywood’s red carpet after filming started on a blockbuster movie inspired by two of his books.

Professor of Psychology Geoff Beattie is to be credited for his part in the boxing film Giant, which will tell the rollercoaster rags-to-riches story of Prince Naseem Hamed, a former world featherweight champion remembered as one of the sport’s greatest entertainers.

It stars former James Bond star Pierce Brosnan as Naseem’s legendary Irish trainer Brendan Ingle – the inspiration behind the somersaulting Sheffield showman’s 37-fight career, which ended with 36 wins, 31 of them by knockout.

While researching his books, Professor Beattie trained at Ingle’s legendary gym in the Sheffield suburb of Wincobank, which launched the careers of a string of famed boxers including Naseem and fellow world champions Johnny Nelson, Junior Witter and Kell Brook.

Geoff immersed himself into the boxing world, getting to know both Prince Naseem and Ingle in the process, and wrote two books about the culture and characters he experienced along the way: On the Ropes: Boxing as a Way of Life and The Shadows of Boxing: Prince Naseem and Those He Left Behind

On The Ropes was shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year in 1996. 

Both books were optioned by the producers of Giant, which is being executive produced by Rocky star and Hollywood legend Sylvester Stallone. Geoff will be credited as consulting producer.

Now Geoff, well remembered as the resident psychologist through 11 series of Channel Four’s Big Brother, is preparing to go from ringside to red carpet.

The book to big-screen journey is set to take a step forward soon with a day on set promised as the story is filmed in Leeds with Naseem being played by Amir El-Masry.

Geoff, who has written 27 books ranging from academic through literary non-fiction to observational journalism, said: “These bouncers introduced me to Brendan Ingle. And Brendan said to me, ‘What do you do?’ I said, ‘I’m a professor of psychology.’ And he said, ‘Oh, that’s good, I’m a professor of kidology. We’ll get on.’

“We got on brilliantly and became close. He would tell me what was on his mind, and we would have some very personal chats. I immersed myself in that culture, writing about what I saw, following this Naseem Hamed all the way up, and looking at the development of this father-son relationship between him and Brendan, which eventually all turned sour.”

Geoff’s stories have been given a second lease of life almost three decades on with the help of his agent Robert Kirby, whose clients also include Ricky Gervais, Rob Brydon, James Cordon and Dawn French.

He added: “It’s started filming in Leeds. I haven’t been to the set yet. I’ve been told by the studio that I will get an all-expenses paid trip for two to the celebrity Hollywood premiere. It’s all quite unbelievable.”

Geoff’s latest book, Lies, Lying And Liars: A Psychological Analysis is out now.

Professor Beattie is a Chartered Psychologist and Chartered Scientist and his research has focused on how unconscious thoughts influence choices and actions, including in relation to climate change. This has helped to inform international policy and practice.

His research on discrimination has also sought to understand the impact of hidden biases on fairness and equality.

He has published over 120 academic articles and was awarded the Spearman Medal by the British Psychological Society for ‘published psychological research of outstanding merit’ and the Mouton d’Or for his work in semiotics.

He was elected Fellow of the British Psychological Society, Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

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May 28, 2024


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