This is the same Sugar Ray Robinson project that we first announced almost exactly 2 years ago, October 7, 2010, on the old S&A site.
At the time, no actor was attached. But based on Deadline's report, it appears that the same team is still very much involved – Moneyball producer Racheal Horowitz, Game Change screenwriter Danny Strong, to based on the Wil Haygood’s acclaimed biography Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson.
By the way, Strong also wrote screenplay for The Butler, which David Oyelowo also stars in.
Oyelowo is their man to play Sugar Ray Robinson; he will also executive produce.
Sweet Thunder chronicles Robinson’s exploits with an emphasis on an intriguing aspect of the fighter’s early career. Despite being the class of his field in the welterweight and later the middleweight class, Robinson spent too long watching inferior fighters get title matches, boxers that he’d whipped soundly in non-title fights. The reason: boxing was controlled by organized crime, and Robinson declined to get in bed with them, and refused to throw a fight. Robinson helped expose that seedy underbelly of the business.
No director is attached yet however; but given the connections here, might Lee Daniels be on the short list?
Oyelowo's in an actor in demand – aside from Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, he also had a part in another 2011 summer hit, The Help; and, this year, has been seen in The Paperboy with Lee Daniels, the George Lucas-produced Red Tails, and, of couse, co-starring in Ava DuVernay's recently-released Middle Of Nowhere.
But that's not all; he co-stars in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, later this year.
Next year, look for him in The Butler (again with Lee Daniels), Cynthia Mort's Nina Simone film, the UK Channel 4's political thriller Complicit, and probably more to be announced.
He was also Lee Daniels' choice to play MLK in his long-in-development King project, which may now be dead.
As I noted 2 days ago, he's it was probably only a matter of time before Hollywood puts him in the lead in his own starring project; and viola! Here we are…
By the way, Usher will play another Sugar Ray – Sugar Ray Leonard