24 January 2013 6:06 PM, PST | Deadline New York | See recent Deadline New York news »

Exclusive: HBO has set Ides Of March screenwriter and playwright Beau Willimon to write Jack Johnson, a miniseries about the life of the first African-American world heavyweight champion. The mini teams Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman and historian and documentary director Ken Burns. To be told in four to six parts, the mini is based on the Geoffrey C. Ward book Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise And Fall Of Jack Johnson, which Burns previously adapted into the Emmy-winning PBS documentary of the same name. Burns is aboard to direct. Hanks and Goetzman are exec producers, and Burns is too. Willimon is co-exec producer. In the early 20th Century, Johnson was the class of the heavyweight division, a proud man of color who paid a high price for it. The main problem: he twice married white women and did not hide it or the fact that he liked to live well. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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