While we’re still a ways away from witnessing Mahershala Ali make his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the vampire hunting superhero known as Blade, the Oscar winning actor isn’t planning on just sitting around waiting for his sword to come in the mail. Instead, Ali is planning on donning a pair of boxing gloves for the time being.
According to Deadline, HBO has recruited Mahershala Ali to star as legendary boxer Jack Johnson in their upcoming limited series, Unruly. Based on the PBS documentary Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, the series will be penned by Dominique Morisseau and produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman Playtone. Once described as a “dream role” by the two-time Oscar winner himself, Ali will be serving as executive producer of the series along with his wife, Amatus Karim Ali under their production company Know Wonder.
Unruly is described as an unapologetically Black, no-holds-barred telling of Jack Johnson (Ali), the world’s first Black Heavyweight Boxing Champion. This bold exploration depicts the champion’s rise to athletic greatness and the costs he paid for his skin and defiance, which created a blueprint for Black resistance in every justice movement for generations to come.
For those who aren’t familiar with the story of Jack Johnson, the legendary heavyweight (nicknamed the “Galveston Giant”) became the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion (1908–1915) at the height of the Jim Crow era. Jonhson’s 1910 fight against James J. Jeffries was considered the “fight of the century.”
This should be good.
No release date has been given for Unruly but one thing’s for sure, Mahershala Ali will certainly be using this role to buff up not only for his fight in the ring, but for his fight against the undead who’ll eventually be popping up in the MCU.
We. Can’t. Wait.