An untitled HBO Entertainment multi-part documentary about the life and career of Muhammad Ali from LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment and Antoine Fuqua’s Fuqua Films has started production and will debut on the network, it was announced today by Kary Antholis, president, HBO Miniseries and CINEMAX Programming. Directed by acclaimed feature-film director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day,” “Southpaw,” “The Magnificent Seven”) the documentary 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.
“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.”
“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.’ ”
The story of Muhammad Ali is a study in greatness. A 1960 Olympic gold medalist from racially divided Louisville, Ky., and longtime heavyweight champion, he forged a long and tumultuous career inside the ring, and confronted a chaotic life outside the ring. Through it all, he continued to rise above his own imperfections, and challenge the imperfections of the world around him.
Ali never chose the easy path, and that fierce unwillingness to back down helped galvanize his greatness. It also contributed to his ultimate decline, both inside and outside the ring, as tragic and painful as it was to witness. His personality, his voice, his message and his legacy all endure.
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.”
The production team is highlighted by one of today’s most socially responsible and community-minded athletes, NBA superstar and three-time world champion LeBron James.
The film is being produced with full participation of the Muhammad Ali family estate coordinated through Jamie Salter, chairman and CEO of the Authentic Brands Group, the majority stakeholder of the Muhammad Ali Brand.
The documentary will combine archival footage and gorgeous, cinematic recreations that will transport viewers into the ring and at home with “The Greatest of All Time.” The production will also feature never-before-seen photos and footage from private collections of the Ali family and others.
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; directed by Antoine Fuqua; producer, Sean Stuart; written by Steven Leckhart.