Interview - Robb Skyler on playing Howard Cosell in "Hands of Stone," Mayweather-Pacquiao, and Canelo
By Daniel Zaldivar
May 18, 2016
Playing the role of legendary sports broadcaster Howard Cosell, in the upcoming feature film Hands of Stone, actor Robb Skyler (Along Came Polly, Joe Dirt, For the Love of Money) knew he had landed the role he's been waiting for his entire life.
Written and directed by director Jonathan Jakubowics, the movie is based on the life of Hall-of-Fame fighter Roberto Duran, who began his professional career at the age of 16 in 1968. Cosell, who is played by Skyler, was a prominent figure in American sports journalism from the 1950's to the early 1990's and was a media staple during this particular boxing era. We caught up with Skyler (over phone) and asked him about playing the pompous sports personality and also got his current take on modern day boxing, some of his favorite fighters, the Mayweather-McGregor rumors, and his take on actor Jon Voight -- who last played the role of Cosell in 2001's "Ali."
- I read that you got your start in stand-up comedy in Charlotte, North Carolina before moving to Los Angeles. Is that correct?
- Was there a point during this time that you knew you wanted to become and actor? Or did it just come naturally from the beginning?
- A lot of your work has been of a comedic substance of some sort. Like Deuce Bigalo, The Animal. A lot of films with (actor) Rob Schneider. Is it difficult for you to transition into roles as this , which are a lot less comedic in form?
- I learned initially, you didn't get the role (of Howard Cosell), but you kept trying and I heard that you found the lawyer representing the heirs of Cosell and reached out to them. You felt that were destined for this role for many years.
- Did you feel that you had to prepare for the role since you had been studying him for so many years already?
- Did you reference at all Jon Voight's rendition of Cosell in "Ali" from 2001?
- He (Voight) said in an interview that when he played the role of Cosell, the makeup took hours for him. Was it just as long for you in this movie?
- I read that Robert De Niro is actually one of your favorite actors and this was the first time that you got the chance to work with him. Can you tell me a little bit about working with a legend like De Niro?
- Is it true that he [Robert De Niro] called you 'Howie' on set?
- Are you a current fan of today's boxing?
- Would you want to see a second rendition of Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao?
- Besides Pacquiao, is there anybody else in the current state of boxing that you like? Like a Canelo Alvarez or Triple G?
- What do you think about this whole ordeal about Mayweather and Conor McGregor? Do you think that they will actually fight each other?
- Tell us a little about 'Hands of stone' before we have to let you go.
Daniel Zaldivar is a boxing contributor for Frontproof Media & Page2sports.com. He is the founder and CEO of Z-BoxingNews (a partner with Frontproof Media), a YouTube channel that delivers the latest news, interviews, fighter workouts, & analysis within the sport. Check out the Z-BoxingNews YouTube channel HERE. Also follow on Twitter @Z_BoxingNews
(Feature photo: "Hands of Stone," 2016)