Thesp finds fortune in 'Ali' role

Earning an NAACP nomination for his portrayal of Drew “Bundini” Brown in “Ali” is no laughing matter, according to funnyman Jamie Foxx.

“When you know me as the funny guy but are willing to accept another performance and be brought in by it, that takes a little getting use to,” says Foxx.

Preparing for the role, Foxx bulked up to 200 lbs. (he’s normally 175) and talked to those who knew Bundini best.

“I really tried to put myself in the place of these guys back in the ’60s,” Foxx says. “There was a lot of racial tension and people back then didn’t really consider Ali as a friend.”

Foxx says working with director Oliver Stone on “Any Given Sunday” also prepared him for “Ali.”

“I call him the diabolical genius,” says Foxx. “He pushed and pulled and tugged performances out of everybody. He really goes hard and I credit him for allowing me to see another side of Hollywood and for allowing me to be black and not be ashamed of it. I’m prepared now for anybody.”

At a glance
Born: Dec. 13, 1967
Birthplace: Terrell, Texas
Notable: Began standup comedy career in 1989 when a girlfriend dared him to go onstage at a nightclub
Image-friendly: This is Foxx’s fifth NAACP Image nom. The other four were for his sitcom, “The Jamie Foxx Show.”

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