Ang Lee’s ‘Thrilla in Manila’ Boxing Movie Jumps to Studio 8 From Universal

Sony Pictures will now distribute the film about the 1975 fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier

[Update 3 p.m.: While there are no offers out yet, David Oyelowo & Ray Fisher (WB’s “Cyborg”) are the frontrunners to play Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, respectively. They were Ang Lee‘s choices when the project was at Universal, according to insiders. Fisher previously played Ali on stage in “Fetch Clay, Make Man,” though his turn in “Justice League” may represent a scheduling obstacle. A representative for Oyelowo didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.]

Jeff Robinov‘s Studio 8 has stepped up to produce Ang Lee‘s untitled 3D movie about the Thrilla in Manila boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, an individual familiar with the project has told TheWrap.

The boxing movie had previously been set up at Universal but it stalled when Lee decided to make “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” for TriStar as he waited for technology to catch up with his ambitious vision. Sony Pictures will now distribute the film under its deal with Studio 8.

Peter Morgan wrote the script, though it’s unclear whether Studio 8 will hire a new writer to take a crack at the material, or whether Lee’s longtime collaborator James Schamus remains onboard to produce.

“Billy Lynn” will be Lee’s first film since he won an Oscar for directing “Life of Pi,” and the Ali-Frazier movie is expected to be his next project. The filmmaker is represented by CAA.

News of the Studio 8 deal was first reported by Deadline.

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