Hollywood Producer David Hoberman offered students a sneak peek at segments of his film The Fighter as part of a three-day screenwriting workshop, calling the movie, which was shot in Lowell, Mass., “a gritty film that has mass appeal.”

The producer of The Proposal, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Eight Below, Beauty Shop, and dozens of other major motion pictures worked with a small group of Suffolk students on elements of scriptwriting. The screening and discussion of The Fighter capped off the workshop.

Hoberman, who heads Mandeville Films and Television, described how “hard work” and “good decisions” fueled his rise from the mailroom at ABC to the height of the entertainment industry. Before forming Mandeville, he was president of the Walt Disney Studio’s motion picture group.

James Carroll, the award-winning author and columnist and a University Distinguished Scholar in Residence, interviewed Hoberman and moderated the discussion in the Studio Theatre.

The Fighter tells the story of Lowell professional boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward and his half-brother Dickie Ekland, also a professional fighter, who was featured in the 1995 HBO documentary High on Crack Street.

Universal themes

Hoberman said the producers of The Fighter “did not set out to make a boxing movie” even though the script was based on the true story of an underdog fighter, trained by his brother, who went on to win junior welterweight titles.

“We set out to make a movie about the people,” he said. “It’s a film about redemption.”

Throughout his three-day residency, Hoberman stressed the importance of tapping into those universally understood themes. The producer also emphasized the need for writers to stay on track when telling their stories.

“Your job is to make sure every scene counts,” he told the group of Suffolk students. “If I'm reading along and you have a scene that tells me nothing, all you're doing is treading water.”