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'Warrior' screening with Nick Nolte

Actor Nick Nolte arrives at the premiere of Lionsgate Films'
Actor Nick Nolte arrives at the premiere of Lionsgate Films' "Warrior" at the Cinerama Dome Theatre on September 6, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
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Variety held a screening last night of the movie "Warrior" at ArcLight Hollywood, including a Q&A with director Gavin O'Connor and actor Nick Nolte. The movie feels like "Rocky" meets "The Fighter," moved from the world of boxing into MMA (mixed martial arts).

It tracks the story of two brothers who are both led by circumstances to become MMA fighters. As someone who's watched MMA on occasion, the fights felt largely authentic, adding an extra level of realism to a film that's largely played real.

Nick Nolte plays their estranged father Paddy, the third leg in a broken triangle in a movie ultimately about forgiveness, or a lack thereof, between the three main characters. There's already been some buzz that he may receive a best supporting actor nomination. The reason for Paddy's estrangement: a lifetime of alcoholism. Nolte acknowledged his own background with substances (remember that widely publicized mugshot?), joking "alcohol wasn't particularly my problem."

Director Gavin O'Connor said that he wrote the role for Nolte, who he's been friends with for years. O'Connor thanked Nolte for fully committing to the role, with both saying that they feel that many modern actors fail to do.

Nolte also talked about his long career. He offered a self-assessment he's given in a number of recent interviews, saying "I didn't feel comfortable in life at all. I only felt comfortable on the stage, because real life is scary."

Nolte relished his role as a storyteller; he got off track a few times, but came off as relatively open. He held the audience's attention and showed the charisma that made him a star.

The movie "Warrior" is being released on DVD and Blu-Ray Dec. 20.