Liev Schreiber talks 'Chuck,' praises Naomi Watts

Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts attend the  "Chuck" screening during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at BMCC Tribeca PAC on April 28, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Mike Pont/WireImage)

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  • Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts star in the upcoming movie, "Chuck" based on the life of boxer Chuck Wepner

(CNN)Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts may star in a new fight film, but you can add them to Hollywood's list of friendly former couples.

In what could have been an awkward promotional interview for their new movie "Chuck," Schreiber had nothing but compliments for Watts' performance.
"I think people are going to be very pleasantly surprised by Naomi in this picture," Schreiber told CNN.
    "Chuck" tells the story of boxer Chuck Wepner, the man who inspired the "Rocky" franchise. Schreiber portrays Wepner and Watts plays his wife in the film.
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    Though Schreiber and Watts never married, they had been in a relationship for 11 years at the time of their split in September. They are the parents of two sons.
    The actors worked together periodically over the years. They met on the set of "The Painted Veil" in 2006 and also played a married couple in "Movie 43."
    "Any chance that I get to work with Naomi is great," Schreiber said. "[But] when one was working the other one had to watch the kids. So, it was really difficult doing a film together because neither of us was at home."
    For Schreiber, Wepner's path in life has some parallels to his own.
    "I think that we can all agree that we live in a relatively celebrity and fame obsessed culture," Schreiber said. "I think what's at the heart of Chuck's story is the awareness of the fact that what keeps us on track are those that are nearest and dearest to us, and how important it is to maintain those relationships and focus our energies on those relationships."
    "Chuck" hits theaters May 5.