Mahershala Ali is hooked up to play boxer Jack Johnson in a restricted collection at the moment in the works at HBO, Variety has discovered.
The six-part collection is titled “Unruly.” It’s described as an unapologetically Black, no-holds-barred telling of Johnson’s life. The primary ever Black heavyweight boxing champion, the present would observe Johnson’s rise to greatness and the prices he paid for his pores and skin coloration and defiance.
The collection is predicated on the PBS documentary “Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson,” which was produced and directed by Ken Burns, in addition to the accompanying guide by Geoffrey C. Ward. It was first put into improvement at HBO again in 2013 with Beau Willimon initially hooked up to write.
Dominique Morisseau will function author and government producer on the collection now, with Ali government producing below his Know Surprise banner in addition to starring. Tom Hanks will government produce through Playtone together with Gary Goetzman. Burns may even government produce for Florentine Movies together with Mimi Valdés and Amatus Karim Ali of Know Surprise. Willimon will co-executive produce together with Playtone’s Steven Shareshian.
Ali beforehand performed Johnson in a stage manufacturing of “The Nice White Hope” in 2000 (pictured above) and has beforehand spoken about his want to play Johnson onscreen. The position would additionally deliver Ali again to HBO, the place he starred in the third season of “True Detective,” for which he earned an Emmy nomination final 12 months.
His different TV roles embody a current activate “Ramy” Season 2 and in “Luke Cage” Season 1. He additionally appeared in “Home of Playing cards,” which additionally netted him an Emmy nomination. On the movie aspect, Ali gained two Oscars for his roles in each “Moonlight” and “Inexperienced Ebook.” He’s additionally hooked up to star in a brand new “Blade” movie for Marvel.
He’s at the moment below a first-look deal at HBO, the place he and Know Surprise produced the documentary collection “We Have a Dream: The Youngsters of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest,” directed by Amy Schwartz.
Morisseau is a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant. She is the Tony-nominated guide author for the Broadway musical “Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Occasions of The Temptations.” Her tv credit embody working as a co-producer on “Shameless.” She at the moment has a pilot in improvement at FX. On the movie aspect, she beforehand wrote “Step” for Fox Searchlight. She can also be at the moment creating a brand new musical based mostly on the “Soul Prepare” franchise. Her manufacturing firm is FreeDom’s Daughter.
Ali is repped by WME, Nameless Content material, and Sloane Supply. Morisseau is repped by Paradigm and Schreck Rose.