The Stephen Frears-directed “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” has had no shortage of casting updates since things got underway back in February, with future “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” star Benjamin Walker joining the fold as Kevin Kennedy, a Supreme Court clerk who supported Ali and even wrote briefs that would help to maintain the boxer’s status as a conscientious objector of the war, all in this tale of Ali’s trial following his arrest for anti-Vietnam sentiments and behaviour when drafted to serve in the war.
Well now Deadline has the word on a new onslaught of impressive performers, with Danny Glover, Barry Levinson, Pablo Schreiber, Ed Begley Jr., Bob Balaban and Kathleen Chalfant jumping in the ring with the self-proclaimed world’s greatest. You’ll remember that Ali will be presented in archival footage of the case, with Glover playing the legendary Justice Thurgood Marshall, who was the first African-American Justice to serve within the Supreme Court, with the odd choice of “Rain Man” director Levinson playing Justice Potter Stewart, along with Ed Begley Jr. as Justice Harry Blackmun, and Balaban playing the Advocate for Vietnam Veterans who argued the case before the court. Finally, Schreiber will play Covert Becker and Kathleen Chalfant will play Ethel Harlan, who is Justice Harlan’s wife. Previously cast veterans Christopher Plummer and Frank Langella are also on board playing Supreme Court Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan II and Chief Justice Warren Burger, respectively.
It’s an impressive lineup, and we’re particularly interested in the inclusion of Levinson, whose best work has been behind the camera, but has had minor appearances in films like “Bee Movie” and “Quiz Show.” Glover is always reliable, and we can actually imagine him fitting into the role of Marshall quite well. And we’re definitely curious to see how Frears will jump between archival footage and the actors and still retain the drama of the story. Still no word on when shooting on this one will commence, but we’re guessing the start date won’t be far off.