With the amount of biopics in production right now, it appears that it’s biopic season in Hollywood. Andre 3000 is in the process of bringing back to life Jimmy Hendricks, while there appears to be a growing controversy over the casting of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone in her biopic. Now, David Oyelowo is the latest to recreate a real person as boxer Sugar Ray Robinson in Sweet Thunder.
According to Deadline, the film will be based on the Wil Haygood’s biography “Thunder: The Life And Times Of Sugar Ray Robinson”, which was first published in 2009.
The Synopsis of the book goes as follows:
Continuing to set himself apart as one of our canniest cultural historians, Wil Haygood grounds the spectacular story of Robinson’s rise to greatness within the context of the fighter’s life and times. Born Walker Smith, Jr., in 1921, Robinson had an early childhood marked by the seething racial tensions and explosive race riots that infected the Midwest throughout the twenties and thirties. After his mother moved him and his sisters to the relative safety of Harlem, he came of age in the vibrant post-Renaissance years. It was there that—encouraged to box by his mother, who wanted him off the streets—he soon became a rising star, cutting an electrifying, glamorous figure, riding around town in his famous pink Cadillac. Beyond the celebrity, though, Robinson would emerge as a powerful, often controversial black symbol in a rapidly changing America. Haygood also weaves in the stories of Langston Hughes, Lena Horne, and Miles Davis, whose lives not only intersected with Robinson’s but also contribute richly to the scope and soul of the book.
From Robinson’s gruesome six-bout war with Jake “Raging Bull” LaMotta and his lethal meeting with Jimmy Doyle, to his Harlem nightclub years and thwarted show-biz dreams, Haygood brings the champion’s story – inside the ring and out – powerfully to life against a vividly painted backdrop of the world he captivated.
Oyelowo is not only starring in the film, he is also executive producing. Also producing is Moneyball producer Rachael Horovitz and Game Change’s Danny Strong. Though no director has been selected yet, offers should be made in the coming week.