Ali (2001) - News Poster

(2001)

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Muhammad ‘Ali’ Biopic Returning to Theaters for Limited Run

Muhammad ‘Ali’ Biopic Returning to Theaters for Limited Run
Sony’s “Ali,” the Muhammad Ali biopic starring Will Smith, will return to theaters this weekend in limited release as an homage and celebration of the life of the American icon.

Sony said the film, directed by Michael Mann, will be shown in a few hundred locations nationwide. Ali passed away on June 3.

It was recently reported that Smith, who received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the legendary boxer, would be a pallbearer at Ali’s funeral this Friday, June 10, in Louisville, Kentucky.

“With the passing of Muhammad Ali, we have received many requests for this film to return to theaters, in celebration of his life,” said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution.

“The film truly honors everything that made Ali one of the central figures of our time, a man who commanded his sport but whose personal faith and principles made him mean so much more,” Bruer added.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘Ali’ Director Michael Mann on the Greatest, the Man Behind the Movie (Guest Column)

‘Ali’ Director Michael Mann on the Greatest, the Man Behind the Movie (Guest Column)
One of Muhammad Ali’s biggest struggles culminated in 1974’s Rumble in the Jungle, where it seemed that the spirit of the progressive forces in the world was about to battle the spirit of the repressive status quo.

Early on, Cassius Clay related to the wider world. His father was interested in Marcus Garvey and pan-Africanism. Cassius started reading “Muhammad Speaks” in 1959. In the early ‘60s, the front page may have featured the opening of a Nation of Islam haberdashery on 64th Street in Chicago, but buried in the middle pages were national liberation struggles in the third world, Patrice Lumumba in the Congo, gleaming new public housing in Nkrumah’s Ghana.

Then, when he became world champion and changed his religion and declared himself free of every Jim Crow assumption and expectation including his slave name (“I had to prove you could be a new kind of black man.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Smith Recuperating After Shoulder Strain

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Smith Recuperating After Shoulder Strain
Will Smith is recuperating after undergoing treatment on his shoulder in a New York hospital. The Ali star suffered a strain last week on the set of new movie I Am Legend, and was treated by doctors at the Hospital for Special Surgery on Thursday - but Smith's spokesperson insists the injury is not serious. She tells the New York Daily News, "Will strained his shoulder on Thursday morning and after work immediately went to the hospital." "He worked Thursday and Friday and was just having a little bit of therapy. It is absolutely not something major or life-threatening."

Smith to get Santa Barbara fest's Modern Master nod

Smith to get Santa Barbara fest's Modern Master nod
Will Smith will be honored with the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Modern Master Award, SBIFF executive director Roger Durling said Thursday. The award, which honors an individual who has enriched our culture through his accomplishments in the motion picture industry, will be presented Jan. 27 at Santa Barbara's Arlington Theatre. Smith, who received a best actor Academy Award nomination for Ali, next stars in The Pursuit of Happyness, which Sony Pictures will release Dec. 15. The fest runs Jan. 25-Feb. 4.

Forman bets on Cage-led 'Slim' biopic

Milos Forman and Nicolas Cage are betting on a feature film about the larger-than-life gambler Amarillo Slim Preston. Screenwriters Stephen Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson, who worked on the biopics Ali and Nixon, will adapt Preston's memoir Amarillo Slim in a World Full of Fat People: The Memoirs of the Greatest Gambler Who Ever Lived. The project would Mark Forman's first directorial outing since 1999's Man on the Moon. Although formal commitments have not yet been put on paper, Cage has been developing the project -- which he will star in and also produce with his Saturn Films partner Norm Golightly -- for more than a year.

Mann of the year at Hollywood fest

Michael Mann will be honored with the Hollywood Director of the Year Award at this year's Hollywood Film Festival awards gala. "Mr. Mann has demonstrated extraordinary ability throughout his career," festival founder Carlos de Abreu said. "He is an excellent example of a highly talented professional whose work and creative vision are to be honored." Mann directed this summer's critical hit Collateral, starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx, and is a producer on the upcoming Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator. He received Oscar nominations for best picture, best director and best adapted screenplay for 2000's The Insider. His feature film credits also include Manhunter, The Last of the Mohicans, Heat and Ali. Mann also executive produced Miami Vice and Crime Story. The Hollywood Film Festival takes place Oct. 12-18, and the awards gala ceremony will take place at the Beverly Hilton on the fest's final night. Foxx will be honored with one of the festival's two Breakthrough Acting awards.

Foxx Says Sorry After Naked Basketball Antics

Ali star Jamie Foxx is planning to buy his neighbors gift baskets - to apologize for his friends playing a game of nude basketball. The comedian, notorious for his love of throwing parties at his California mansion, left his neighbors far from being impressed when they caught a glimpse of his pals shooting hoops naked. He says, "To all my neighbors, I just want to say that I'm sorry and I'm sending gift baskets to you for all the wrong I've done. We used to play nude basketball in the back - for clinical reasons, to release the soul. Part of my fence was down and I didn't know that the lady and her family was there. I wasn't there at the time...but what got me was how long they looked for. I've been watching you guys for hours back there. I want it to stop!'"

Gooding Jr: Will Smith Gets All the Roles

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Gooding Jr: Will Smith Gets All the Roles
Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr. has slammed movie bosses who refuse to give black actors the same opportunities as their white colleagues. The actor also argues that when a good African-American role comes up in Hollywood, it is automatically given to Will Smith. Cuba, 34, says, "I'll never forget when Will Smith came off TV and did his first movie and nobody really paid attention to him. "Then he did Independence Day and it made all this money and boom - he was the go-to guy. And they didn't see it as, 'Let's set a black man up', they saw him as a way to bring the people to the audience. "To this day I speak to my agent about these great roles and he's like, 'They're all going to Will Smith.'" Gooding, after the success of early films like Boyz N The Hood and Jerry Maguire, has recently appeared in critical and commercial flops like 2002's Boat Trip, whilst Smith has starred in the hit Bad Boys and Men In Black franchises, as well as the acclaimed Ali.

Will Smith: There Won't Be 'Independence Day' Sequel

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Will Smith: There Won't Be 'Independence Day' Sequel
Movie star Will Smith has rubbished reports of a sequel to hit 1996 movie Independence Day. The Ali actor reveals that talks of a follow-up have fallen through and he now doubts the movie will ever be made. Will says, "I think that will never happen. It's Hollywood so you never know, you can never say never, but I'm pretty sure that will never happen." However, Will is getting stuck into his next film role, that of a technophobic policeman on the trail of a criminal robot in I, Robot. He adds, "It's beautiful. The technology is pushed slightly ahead of the technology that (author Isaac Asimov) had envisioned with his robots. I play a detective who is investigating the first robot-on-human murder."

Jamie Foxx's Trial Delayed

Comedian Jamie Foxx's trial on charges from a fight with guards a New Orleans, Louisiana, casino has been delayed until September 8. Police say Ali star Foxx, his sister, Diedra Dixon, and others in the entertainer's 10-person entourage refused a guard's order to show identification when they entered Haarah's casino near the city's French Quarter on April 26. Police say Foxx splashed water from a fountain, cursed loudly, refused to leave when security guards asked and fought with officers. Dixon stands accused of hitting a police officer while partially handcuffed, sending t he officer to the hospital. Foxx, 35, pleaded innocent to the misdemeanor charges, while Dixon also pleaded innocent to misdemeanor battery on a police officer and resisting arrest charges. The star, who lives in Hollywood, was in town to film Unchain My Heart, in which he stars as Ray Charles, when the incident took place.

Pinkett Smith on Will, Sex and Politics

Hollywood honey Jada Pinkett Smith has revealed the saucy secrets of her sex life with hubby Will Smith - physical fitness. Randy Jada admits that sex with hunky Will was better than ever while she shot Matrix Reloaded and he was filming Ali, because they were both super fit. Jada, 32, says, "Your body's stronger, you just have all of this stamina. Having been in the best shapes of our lives during that time...let's just put it this way. It was A-OK." But despite their phenomenal bedroom workouts, Jada confesses that Will is somewhat conventional in his political beliefs. She says, "He's more conservative. He's always like, 'This is the best country in the world. Anybody can make it happen here!' I'll say, 'Yeah, but look at the educational system.' He says, 'If you want to be educated, there's a free library down the street!' We get into those types of debates constantly." Ambitious Will has also taken high-level politics off his long-term agenda. Jada says, "He's talked about it, but he can't see himself as President. It's a lot of hard work. Look at how gray Bill Clinton got. Will looks at President Bush and see how torn he is. He's been under so much pressure."

Will Smith Clarifies Reasons for Oscars No-Show

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Will Smith Clarifies Reasons for Oscars No-Show
Actor Will Smith has spoken out against accusations his withdrawal from last month's Academy Awards was a veiled anti-war statement. Avoiding the backlash of fellow screen stars like Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, the Ali actor insists his decision not to appear at the glitzy Hollywood ceremony was based solely on the fact he felt uncomfortable celebrating as the war in Iraq raged on. He explains, "For me, personally, it just felt inappropriate to celebrate acting and performances when POWs were being taken in Iraq and the war had just begun. There's reporters over there that can tell us what's going on so we can monitor our military, we can monitor the situation. So I just felt like it was my responsibility to pay attention to what was going on." He adds, "It's so difficult to say that you support a war. You know that civilians are gonna die; you know that innocent people are gonna die. I'm glad I'm not the President because it's a horrible job right now."

'Matrix' Jada Doesn't Want Will on Her Turf

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Sexy actress Jada Pinkett Smith was desperate to bag a part in the upcoming Matrix sequel - but when she did, she refused to ask producers if they could cast husband Will Smith too. Although Pinkett Smith starred alongside her superstar spouse in Ali, she wasn't so keen to return the favor after landing the part of Niobe in the two mega-budget action sequels. She says, "When I saw the first movie, I went, 'Oh my God! It doesn't get any better than that!' So when the second movie came along, I was like, 'I've got to cut off one of my arms to be in this film!' After they called me for the second, Will was like, 'You got to ask them, is there anything for me?' And I'm like, 'It's my movie! I'm not asking them nothing!'"

Showtime gets back on 'Street' beat

Showtime gets back on 'Street' beat
NEW YORK -- Showtime has renewed the original series Street Time and is preparing for the relaunch of the gritty crime drama April 30. The Sony Pictures Television series, starring Rob Morrow as a troubled parolee, bowed on Showtime in July, but the show was taken off the air before it finished its first-season order of 13 episodes. Showtime now intends to run the remaining seven episodes from the first season starting April 30 in the 10:45 p.m. Wednesday time slot, following the drama series Soul Food. Those seven episodes will then be rerun in the Wednesday 10 p.m. time slot starting June 25, which will lead into Street Time's second-season premiere, set for August. In Season 2, Street will feature a new cast member, Terrence Dashon Howard (Ali), who will play a parole supervisor. Stars Morrow, Scott Cohen and Erika Alexander are set to return.

Screen Gems pic 'Handbook' taps Foxx know-how

Screen Gems pic 'Handbook' taps Foxx know-how
Jamie Foxx is set to star in Screen Gems' comedy The Break Up Handbook for writer-director Daniel Taplitz and producer Lisa Tornell. The project is scheduled to go into production in December in Los Angeles. Handbook is a farcical comedy about a man (Foxx) who, after being unceremoniously dumped by his fiancee, pens a how-to book on breaking up and becomes a best-selling author on the subject. Not wanting his male friends to suffer the same fate, he gives them advice on dumping their mates, and a comedy of errors ensues. Screen Gems senior vp production Stacy Kolker Cramer is overseeing the project for the studio. Foxx, repped by CAA and manager Jaime King, most recently appeared in Columbia Pictures' Ali and just wrapped production on RKO Pictures' crime drama Shade. Taplitz, repped by Original Artists Agency, wrote and directed the feature Commandments, starring Aidan Quinn and Courteney Cox. His recent writing credits include the telefilm Little Richard and miniseries Black River.

Will Predicts Black Presidency

Will Predicts Black Presidency
Oscar-nominated actor Will Smith has predicted the United States will eventually have a black president. The Ali star, who last year joked that he would run for office, believes non-white people and women will rule the country from Washington D.C. Will says, "It will still take some time, but in the future, women and blacks will be moving into the White House." Will explained that while he doesn't have political ambition at the moment, he believes he would succeed if he did run for office. He explains, "As a matter of fact, I believe I could become president if I only tried. But I'm only 33, I don't have any political ambition yet." The Men in Black II star is fully aware of the cons of the job after he spent time with former US president Bill Clinton. Will continues, "Being president is an unpleasant profession. Everybody is constantly annoyed, you work all hours, there's always trouble and nobody thanks you for it. But fortunately, greed is even more powerful than racism. In Hollywood, the only color that really counts is the green of dollar bills. As long as they make money with you, they don't care what color your skin is."

Samuel L. Has Fun at the ESPYs

Samuel L. Has Fun at the ESPYs
Samuel L. Jackson took over the home of the Oscars last night to host the 10th annual ESPY Awards in Hollywood. But in addition to paying homage to the past year's American sporting achievements, the Pulp Fiction star was out to have some fun. The movie star recreated his most famous roles from Star Wars, Pulp Fiction and Shaft in a series of hilarious short films where he pretended his characters had once been sporting coaches to future legends like Derek Jeter and Shaquille O'Neal. Jackson also popped up in clips from a handful of great sporting films, including Jerry Maguire, Rocky, Chariots of Fire and Raging Bull, in which he beat up Robert De Niro with a baseball bat. The actor rounded off his night by dueting with Snoop Dogg on a rousing version of P-Funk's "We Got The Funk." Elsewhere in the show, Dennis Quaid's The Rookie beat Ali to claim the first ever Best Sports Movie award; Tiger Woods claimed the Best Male Athlete award and Venus Williams claimed the Best Female Athlete prize. The Los Angeles Lakers claimed the Best Team honor.

Will Loses Weight

Will Loses Weight
Hollywood star Will Smith biggest challenge while filming the Men in Black sequel was losing the weight he gained for his Oscar-nominated role in Ali. The hunky actor beefed up to play legendary boxer Muhammad Ali and had to quickly drop the pounds to reprise his role as Agent J in MiB 2. Will says, "I probably weighed about 225, 226 pounds at the peak of Ali. Then maybe I weighed about 207 or something like that when I walked on the set of MiB II, and got down to about 202 shooting the rest of MiB. If you run you can pretty much eat whatever you want. But you gotta run! We were doing probably 40 miles a week."

Will & Jada Touched By Halle's Speech

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Will Smith was honored after Halle Berry namechecked his wife Jada Pinkett Smith in her acceptance speech. The Ali star was forced to leave Sunday's festivities early after his daughter Willow fell ill and missed Best Actress winner Halle's words. Upon receiving her gong, an emotional Halle blubbed, "It's for the women who stand behind me, Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett..." Will gushes, "That was a lovely thing for Halle to do. We both appreciated it."

Spike Lee Angry Over Ali Snub

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Spike Lee Angry Over Ali Snub
Director Spike Lee is bitter over the snub he received from Will Smith when hoping to direct Ali. Lee was approached by Oscar-nominee Will as a possible director for the blockbuster biopic on the life of heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, before Michael Mann was signed. Spike moans, "I wanted to do it, but Will didn't want me to direct it. Columbia and Sony had a list and Will had a list. I met with Will and his manager. The first thing Will said was, 'So Spike, how can you expand your vision?' When he asked that I knew I was out." And disappointed Spike wasn't impressed with the finished film, criticising producers' choice of a white director. Spike adds, "Few white directors can get our stuff right Ali didn't get it. I'm tired of other people documenting our history."
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