- Film And TV
- 09 Mar 23
Regé-Jean Page, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Willmott will serve as producers for the project.
An eight-part event series is in the works at Peacock that will explore the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali, the iconic American boxing champion.
The production team for the drama series, titled Excellence: 8 Fights, includes Academy Award-winning screenwriter Kevin Willmott, known for his films tackling issues faced by African Americans such as BlacKkKlansman, C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America and The 24th.
Distinguished actors Regé-Jean Page and Morgan Freeman will also take up the mantle as executive producers, along with Willmott and Lori McCreary of Revelations Entertainment. The upcoming series is based on the 2017 biography Ali: A Life by Jonathan Eig, who will also serve as a producer with Universal Content Productions and CBS Studios.
Often regarded as the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time, Ali is known for competing in several historic fights, including winning the world heavyweight championship against Sonny Liston in 1964 and competing against Joe Frazier in a 1971 match dubbed the “Fight of the Century”. In addition to his boxing career, Ali was known for his religious convictions and political activism, as he notably refused to be drafted into the military due to his Islamic beliefs and ethical opposition to the Vietnam War. Ali was also a significant figure of racial pride for African Americans during the American civil rights movement.
In addition, the boxing star was a spoken word artist and released two studio albums which both received Grammy nominations: I Am the Greatest (1963) and The Adventures of Ali and His Gang vs. Mr. Tooth Decay (1976).
Ali died of septic shock in 2016 after battling Parkinson’s disease for more than three decades.
The show’s official description states that Excellence: 8 Fights will “chronicle eight distinct and defining moments in the iconic life of Muhammad Ali. Each episode will be framed by one fight from Ali’s life, but the essence of the episode, what it’s really about, is the internal fight – the drama outside the ring – where we will explore the struggle going on in the heart and mind of one of the most consequential and controversial figures of the 20th century.”
Page, the 34-year-old English-Zimbabwean actor, is known for his breakout role in Netflix’s Bridgerton. However, this series marks the actor’s first major leap into the production realm.
Freeman, the beloved American actor, has served as executive producer on other projects including Invictus and Madam Secretary. The Oscar-winner is known for his distinctive deep voice and roles in films including The Shawshank Redemption, The Bucket List and Now You See Me.
A release date for the series has not yet been announced.
Revisit Hot Press’ 2016 tribute to Muhammad Ali here.
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