*Michael Clarke Duncan and S. Epatha Merkerson have signed on for writer-director Kent Moran’s upcoming boxing drama “The Challenger.”

The story centers on a struggling Bronx auto mechanic Jaden Miller (Moran) who is forced back into boxing after he and his adopted mother (Merkerson) are evicted from their home. Due to the upheaval, Jaden gets involved in a lifestyle he hoped to avoid – fighting. Duncan plays a trainer who helps him.

Justin Hartley (“Smallville”), Ernie Sabella (“The Lion King”) and Lindsay Hartley (“All My Children”) will round out the cast.

Filming began earlier this month in New York City.

Duncan, an Oscar nominee for his role in “The Green Mile” opposite Tom Hanks, currently appears in Fox’s crime drama “The Finder.” Merkerson, currently hosting TV One’s “Find Our Missing,” received multiple awards for her role as Rachel “Nanny” Crosby in the 2006 HBO miniseries “Lackawanna Blues.”