HBO has announced their latest documentary, a multiple part saga focusing on the life and career of the late Muhammad Ali. The film will be directed by Antoine Fuqua (of Training Day and The Magnificent Seven fame), and is backed by SpringHill Entertainment, the production company of LeBron James and Maverick Carter.
The film will focus on both Ali’s legendary boxing career and his life outside of the ring, using both archival footage and recreations, along with newly-released photos and footage from private collections.
“Muhammad Ali meant many things to many people, and he is someone who had a deep impact on me from an early age,” says Antoine Fuqua. “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 Lonnie Ali: “We are at a perfect time in history, and in our lives as Americans, to welcome this special documentary on Muhammad with LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment and HBO. This documentary will have national and global appeal. I’m hopeful this documentary will engage the audience in a similar way Muhammad engaged his audience and fans. Without a doubt, 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.”
And why involve LeBron’s production company? Kary Antholis, the president of HBO Miniseries and Cinemax Programming, explained, while James himself also weighed in.
“Muhammad Ali is indisputably one of the most iconic and distinctive figures in the history of world sports,” said Antholis. “His impact resonates far beyond the boxing ring and is woven deep into the cultural and social tapestry of the second half of the 20th century. From the moment LeBron James told us of his deep visceral connection to Ali’s life and legacy, 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.”
“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,” says LeBron James. “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.”
There’s a high bar for HBO to clear here, and hopefully, they’re able to clear it with ease. A definitive recollection of the life and career of Ali is desperately needed, and this could be the film that finally does it right.