Antoine Fuqua is directing a multi-part documentary about boxing legend Muhammad Ali for HBO, the premium channel has announced. The untitled project marks the first feature-length HBO production from Lebron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment.
Fuqua both directs and exec produces via his Fuqua Films. Production has already started, said Kary Antholis, president, HBO Miniseries and Cinemax Programming, who announced the project.
“From the moment LeBron James told us of his deep visceral connection to Ali’s life and legacy,” Antholis said, “we were committed to helping him realize this film, and our enthusiasm has only grown as Antoine Fuqua has developed his compelling cinematic vision for telling one man’s incredible journey.”
Fuqua (Training Day, The Magnificent Seven) said “Muhammad Ali meant many things to many people, and he is someone who had a deep impact on me from an early age. Being given the opportunity to tell his story, both inside and outside of the ring, is a privilege, and a dream come true, and I couldn’t have found better partners than LeBron and HBO to help memorialize ‘The Greatest of All Time.’ ”
Said NBA star James: “It’s tough to put into words how much it means to me to be a part of this project honoring the legacy and telling the extremely important story of the great Muhammad Ali. He transcended sports and used his platform to empower people, which paved the way for all athletes and people of every race and gender that came after him, myself included. It’s important that his story continues for generations to come, and it’s an honor for SpringHill Entertainment and me to be a part of this.”
The documentary is being produced with the full participation of the Ali family estate, coordinated through Jamie Salter, chairman and CEO of the Authentic Brands Group, the majority stakeholder of the Muhammad Ali Brand.
HBO describes the doc as combining archival footage and recreations, along with never-before-seen photos and footage from private collections of the Ali family and others.
Ali’s widow Lonnie Ali said the doc “will have national and global appeal.”
“Without a doubt,” she said, “Muhammad’s life journey provides simple yet extraordinary lessons for all of us, with perhaps the most important one being, to see and embrace the humanity in all people.”
According to HBO, the film, written by Steven Leckhart, “will explore Ali’s greatest triumphs and comebacks, painting an intimate portrait of a man who, against all odds, dreamed and achieved the impossible, over and over again.”
The film is an HBO Entertainment presentation in association with SpringHill Entertainment and Fuqua Films. Executive producers, LeBron James, Antoine Fuqua, Maverick Carter, Paul Wachter, Bill Gerber, Jamie Salter and Glen Zipper are executive producers, with Sean Stuart producing.