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Mahershala Ali to play boxing legend Jack Johnson in HBO limited series

He had expressed time and again that playing Johnson on screen is his "dream role". In addition to starring in the series, Ali will also executive produce the project through his Know Wonder banner, alongside Hanks, Goetzman, Burns and Morisseau.

PTI | Los Angeles | Updated: 01-07-2020 12:11 IST | Created: 01-07-2020 12:11 IST
Mahershala Ali to play boxing legend Jack Johnson in HBO limited series

Two-time Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali will be essaying the role of American boxing legend Jack Johnson in an upcoming limited series from HBO. Titled "Unruly", the series is based on Ken Burns' PBS documentary "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson"  and Geoffrey C. Ward's companion book, reported Deadline.

The project, which will have six episode, hails from Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman's Playtone and will be written by Dominique Morisseau. "Unruly" has been described as an unapologetically Black, no-holds-barred telling of Johnson (Ali), the world’s first Black Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Jackson, who had earned the nickname "Galveston Giant", became the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion (1908–1915) at the height of the Jim Crow era. His 1910 fight against James J Jeffries was dubbed as the "fight of the century".

The series will chart the champion's rise to athletic greatness and the costs he paid for his skin and defiance, which created a blueprint for Black resistance in every justice movement for generations to come. Ali, 46, had previously played Johnson in a stage production of "The Great White Hope" in 2000. He had expressed time and again that playing Johnson on screen is his "dream role".

In addition to starring in the series, Ali will also executive produce the project through his Know Wonder banner, alongside Hanks, Goetzman, Burns and Morisseau. The actor is best known for starring in movies such as Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight" and "Green Book" , which earned him the best supporting actor trophies at the Oscars in 2017 and 2019.PTI RB RB.


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