Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair are just about two of the most hated names in journalism. Respectively, both were rising stars at their publications (The New Republic, New York Times).

Yet, in the midst of the success they were due to receive in what was assumed to be lengthy careers as writers, each flushed his integrity down the toilet.

Glass lost his way in the late ’90s – his scandal was later chronicled in the film, Shattered Glass starring Hayden Christensen. Merely five years later, Blair was discovered to have falsified the majority of his editorial work as well. Both were in their 20s when the scandals erupted.

With history unfolding each day right before our eyes, it’s so important that the media maintain a standard of quality. It’s not our job to pull the wool over anybody’s eyes, but instead to use our knowledge and exposure as responsibly as possible. Resurrecting the Champ is an insightful drama that hopes to tackle that very same concept.

This film is based on the experiences of Los Angeles-based journalist, J.R. Moehringer.

In 1997, he penned an article about a homeless man who was purported to be a legendary name within the world of championship boxing. Moehringer spent a wealth of time learning life lessons from his subject, as well as dealing with some deep-seated issues brought about from the interaction.

“We are just a collection of our experiences,” says actor Josh Hartnett, who plays Erik Kernan – the character based on Moehringer.

Of course, those understanding words fall short in light of the repercussions of that infamous boxing profile. It turns out that the down-on-his-luck champ was not who he said he was after all. In the end, the one whose personal and professional integrity paid the ultimate price was the author himself.

The big screen version of Resurrecting the Champ isn’t a fast-talking exposé into the minds of dishonest people and those who enable them. It is, instead, a very heartfelt portrait of lost souls who find each other and later … redemption.

Writer-director Rod Lurie (< i>The Contender) takes the actions of his subjects and crafts them in a very nail-biting sequence of events. He strikes gold with the onscreen chemistry between Hartnett and Samuel L. Jackson, who portrays the Champ.

Jackson is a ghost of his former self, hidden behind old-age prosthetic makeup. He also adopts a change of vocal register to really drive home the down-and-out condition of his character.

“You always look for someone that’s the opposite of you that allows you to explore some aspect that you wish to explore,” says Jackson.

Hartnett has similar feelings about Kernan. “It was an honor to portray him as well as to work with such an amazing director, cast and crew.”

Still, Hartnett is honest when he offers up a disapproving opinion of the actions that this upstart journalist demonstrates throughout the movie. “He thinks of himself as a star before he is a star.”

The bravado he carries on camera to step into his subject’s shoes is in direct opposition to this actor who is, in real life, somewhat shy.

Hartnett’s introspective vibe does change when he speaks about the projects that he’s worked on in the past. He lists Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides and O as two of his favorite experiences because they inspired him to continue to make great films.

Jackson is a bit more glib in terms of his career. For him, acting is his job, first and his art, second. When asked how he spent his downtime during the filming of Resurrecting, the Academy Award nominated actor admits he played video games (Tiger Woods’ “Golf”) and read scripts. What type of movie would this star – that rocked audiences in Pulp Fiction and Snakes on a Plane – love to appear in next?

“I’d still like to do a western just because I watched them when I was growing up.”

Fortunately, Resurrecting the Champ benefits not only from these two talented actors but from the rest of its bright and shining cast and crew (including The Aviator’s Alan Alda and “Desperate Housewives’” Teri Hatcher). It’s also sure to serve as yet another cautionary tale that will hopefully encourage the journalists of the world to continue using words as their weapons while always carrying truth as their shields.

Resurrecting the Champ releases in theaters Aug. 24.