Mahershala Ali to Play Boxing Legend Jack Johnson in HBO Limited Series

Titled Unruly, the six-part series is being billed as “an unapologetically Black, no-holds-barred telling of Jack Johnson, the world’s first Black Heavyweight Boxing Champion. RELATED STORIES

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HBO's I'll Be Gone in the Dark Premiere: Grade It! 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.”
The project is based on Ken Burns’ PBS documentary Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, as well as the accompanying companion book by Geoffrey C. Ward Two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali is climbing back into the premium cable ring to play legendary boxer Jack Johnson in a limited series in development at HBO.

House of Cards creator Beau Willimon, who cast Ali in the Netflix political thriller, will be a Co-EP. Ali, who returns to the HBO fold after starring in the third seasin of True Detective, played Johnson in one of his first professional acting jobs: a stage production of The Great White Hope in 2000. Acclaimed playwright and Shameless co-producer Dominique Morisseau will serve as writer/EP alongside Ali and Tom Hanks.

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