The cast for Stephen Frears’ upcoming Muhammad Ali film for HBO continues to grow and impress!
Already attached are Christopher Plummer and Frank Langella; We can now add Danny Glover, Ed Begley Jr., Barry Levinson, Bob Balaban, and Kathleen Chalfant.
Danny Glover will play Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall; Begley, Levinson, Balaban and Chalfant will play Justice Harry Blackmun, Justice Potter Stewart, an advocate for Vietnam veterans, and Justice Marshall Harlan’s wife respectively.
Christopher Plummer is playing Harlan by the way, while Frank Langella will be Chief Justice Warren Burger.
Titled Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, the film will take place in 1967, as then Heavy Weight Champion of the World Muhammad Ali refused to enlist and go fight for the USA in Vietnam; his objections to the war were very public, he was convicted and sentenced to serve time in prison, during which he appealed his case that would go all the way to the Supreme Court. This was all around the time the public began turning against the war, and thus support for Ali grew; eventually, some years later, the Supreme Court would reverse his conviction.
“I ain’t got no quarrel with the Vietcong. No Vietcong ever called me Nigger.”
Remember that quote? :)
So while the Supreme Court was struggling with other hot-button issues like abortion and pornography, they were forced to tackle Ali’s appeal.
By the way, director Frears has said that he won’t cast an actor to play of Muhammad Ali, and will instead use achival footage of Ali in the film.
Shooting was scheduled to begin in New York last month.