Casting Begins for 'Raging Bull 2'

Casting has begun for "Raging Bull II," Moviehole reported Thursday. Back Stage has confirmed that Ricki Maslar is the casting director for the film, which is being called a "companion piece" to director Martin Scorsese's "Raging Bull."

Scorsese and actor Robert De Niro, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of boxer Jake LaMotta in the 1980 original, are not involved in this production. Instead, Argentinian director Martin Guigui (National Lampoon's "Cattle Call") is co-writing and producing the film with Rustam Branaman. Filming begins in June in Los Angeles.

"Raging Bull II" is based on the book of the same name by LaMotta, Chris Anderson, and Sharon McGehee. The film will be both a prequel and sequel, depicting the former boxer's early life as well as the years following the release of Scorsese's Academy Award-nominated film.

In an interview that was posted online today, GQ asked Scorsese for his thoughts about making a follow-up to "Raging Bull."

"I don't think I could revisit the material," Scorsese said. "I think we said what we had to say at that time. All of us moved on… Ultimately, at the end of 'Raging Bull,' he's looking in a mirror and he's at comfort with himself, to a certain extent. He's not fighting, he's not beating himself up. That's all. So, I don't know where they're going to go... I really don't know what 'Raging Bull II' would be."

Veteran character actor William Forsythe ("Boardwalk Empire") will reportedly take over the role of Jake LaMotta in middle age, but the filmmakers are still seeking an actor to play LaMotta as a young man before he became a professional boxer, according to a casting breakdown posted by Moviehole. Other roles include LaMotta's father, girlfriend, and childhood friends. They are specifically seeking "star names" for some of these roles.

Read the leaked cast breakdown for "Raging Bull II" below for more details:

To play 14-20 years old, and already a tough bare knuckles fighter. He takes his father’s frequent beatings without a sound and makes money fighting much bigger opponents in back alley fights set up by his drunken, abusive father. Please submit over 18 to play younger OR emancipated

Portrays 40s-70s, Jake’s father, a tough-looking Italian man, he’s a mean drunk who handcuffs and beats his son. He sets up the back alley fights with Jake and much older, stronger opponents. Later he refuses to help the grown-up Jake when he asks for money. Late in life, a frail old man, he reconciles with Jake just before his death. STAR NAME ONLY

40s-50s, Jake’s childhood friend “Ricky”, now a tall, glib and charming wise guy type, wearing a very expensive suit. He’s done very well running the factory Jake gave him the money to start when he was champ. Later he produces and directs porn while trying to break into legit movie-making. He’s always got his eye on Jake and manages to find him work, first as a stand-up in seedy clubs, then as a bouncer in a mob-owned strip joint, finally putting him to work with other ex-champs in his legitimate movies. STAR NAME ONLY

30-40, Jake’s girlfriend and later his wife and Lisa’s mother. After years of dealing with Jake’s drinking and womanizing, she finds Jesus and takes Lisa with her to Florida, leaving Jake alone in New York. STAR NAME ONLY

60s, Head Master of the reform school, he tries to force young Jake to fellate him and gets punched in the crotch by Jake. Recognizable names: Great Cameo Role

14, Jake’s best friend, arranges more back alley fights and splits the take with Jake. Please submit over 18 to play younger OR emancipated

30-40, aging, yet still sexy, Hollywood movie starlet. From Vienna, she still speaks with a slight accent. She’s furious when Jake won’t sleep with her. Recognizable names: Great Cameo Role