×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Muhammad Ali, George Foreman Documentary ‘When We Were Kings’ Getting Musical Treatment

The legendary “rumble in the jungle” between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire, Africa brings to mind images of two bloodied fighters pushing themselves beyond the limits of endurance. However, the boxing match does not exactly scream musical.

That’s not stopping one producer, David Sonenberg, from trying to put the swing into the sweet science. He is planning to make a musical version of his Academy Award-winning film “When We Were Kings,” a 1996 documentary that captured the ringside drama. The book for the musical will be adapted from the film and written by Shelley Marcus, and the songs will be fR&B classics from the 1974 Zaire music festival. The soundtrack will also include “Rumble In The Jungle”, which was written by The Fugees for the film. A workshop is scheduled for the spring of 2019 with plans for a full stage musical production the following year.

“Muhammad Ali was called ‘The Greatest of All Time’ for good reason,” Sonenberg said in a statement. “Ali remains an undeniable cultural icon. Not only was he an extraordinarily gifted athlete, poet, spiritual and political leader, but he was certainly one of the most charming, disarming, controversial and electrifying personalities of all time.”

The fight in Zaire is considered to be one of the greatest upsets in sports history. Ali was believed to be outmatched by the more physically intimidating Foreman, but he was able to pull of an eighth-round knockout thanks to his “rope-a-dope” approach to wearing down his opponent.

In addition to Ali and Foreman, the musical will also feature cultural and political figures such as Don King, Stokely Carmichael, Norman Mailer, George Plimpton, Howard Cosell, and President Mobutu, and will also have actors portraying musicians such as James Brown, B.B. King, and The Pointer Sister. The Zaire music festival took place directly before the Foreman and Ali fight.

More Film

  • The Last to See Them review

    Film Review: 'The Last to See Them'

    Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” stretches long as a late-evening shadow over Italian director Sara Summa’s feature debut “The Last to See Them.” The Italian title, “Gli Ultimi Viderli Vivere” which translates literally to “The Last to See Them Alive,” is also the heading of the opening chapter of Capote’s book. The setting is, similarly, [...]

  • Kalank

    Film Review: ‘Kalank’

    Events leading to the 1947 Partition of India serve as the forebodingly serious backdrop for the exhaustingly overextended razzmatazz of “Kalank,” writer-director Abhishek Varman’s lavish but ponderous Bollywood extravaganza, which opened in the U.S. on more than 300 screens the same day as its Indian release. Despite the preponderance of sets and costumes spectacular enough [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    WGA: 92 Percent of Writers Who Signed Statement of Support Have Fired Agents

    The Writers Guild of America estimated that over 92 percent of their members who support a new code of conduct for talent agencies have fired those representatives. Letters announcing formal termination will be delivered on Monday, the guild said in a late-hitting memo on Thursday, as most agencies will be closed tomorrow in observance of [...]

  • Jimmie Fails Signs With CAA

    'Last Black Man in San Francisco' Star Jimmie Fails Signs With CAA

    Jimmie Fails, co-writer and star of “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” has signed with CAA for representation. The drama, inspired by Fails’ own life, had its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. In his review for Variety, chief film critic Peter Debruge described the film as “a gorgeous and touchingly idealistic [...]

  • Stuck

    Film Review: 'Stuck'

    A stalled New York City subway carriage serves as a toe-tapping musical Petri dish for six socioeconomically diverse souls in the unique stage-to-screen musical adaptation “Stuck.” Sharing a stylistic template with its 2016 left-coast cousin “La La Land” (which it predated Off-Broadway by a good four years), the film’s 2017 copyright suggests a missed opportunity [...]

  • Gay Chorus Deep South

    Why Airbnb Produced Documentary 'Gay Chorus Deep South,' Its First-Ever Film (EXCLUSIVE)

    The latest player to hit the film-festival circuit may be a bit unexpected: Airbnb, the travel-accommodations booking marketplace, developed, financed and produced documentary film “Gay Chorus Deep South,” set to premiere at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival on April 29. It’s the company’s very first feature film. Directed by David Charles Rodrigues, “Gay Chorus Deep [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content