Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker has joined Khris Davis (“Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Atlanta”) and Sullivan Jones (“Halston”) in Sony Pictures’ AFFIRM Films’ biopic of legendary two-time world heavyweight champion George Foreman to be directed by George Tillman Jr. (“The Hate You Give,” “Men of Honor”). Whitaker will play Doc Broadus, the man who first introduced Foreman to boxing and became his trainer and mentor, TheWrap has exclusively learned.
“I’m excited to work with Forest, as I’ve wanted to work with him for as long as I can remember,” Tillman Jr. said in a statement to TheWrap. “I’m so inspired by his talents and his vast body of work. I’m thrilled that he’s joining our cast to play the iconic role of Doc Broadus as we embark on this journey to tell the incredible true story of George Foreman.”
In pre-production and due to start filming in early 2022, the film will follow the remarkable life and times of George Foreman, from Olympic Gold medalist to world heavyweight champion, from Rumble in the Jungle with Muhammad Ali in Zaire to preacher, capped by his return to the ring, during which he become the oldest heavyweight champion in boxing history at 45.
The screenplay is written by Frank Baldwin and Tillman, with the original screenplay by Dan Gordon. Producers are Peter Guber and David Zelon. The film is to star Khris Davis as Foreman and Sullivan Jones as legendary fighter Muhammad Ali. Michael K. Williams, who died in September, was previously attached to play Doc Broadus.
Whitaker most recently starred opposite Jennifer Hudson in the Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect” and he can currently be seen in Epix’s “Godfather of Harlem,” for which he also serves as executive producer. He is next set to star in “Havoc,” opposite Tom Hardy and Timothy Olyphant. Whitaker won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for best actor for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland.” His other credits include “Black Panther,” “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai” and Lee Daniels’ “The Butler.”
Whitaker is repped by WME, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, and Cohen & Gardner.
The film will be released in theaters on March 24, 2023.
Sony Pictures has four upcoming films made by African American filmmakers, including “A Journal For Jordan,” the untitled George Foreman biopic, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “The Woman King,” with the latter two directed by women.