Will Smith's Muhammad Ali Biopic Will Be Back In Theaters This Weekend
This past Friday the world lost another legend. Muhammad Alidied at the age of 74 after battling with Parkinson's disease for over 30 years. People from across the world took to social media to react to the news, writing about what made the athlete so memorable and iconic. One of them happened to be actor and artist Will Smith, who portrayed the "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" boxer in the 2001 biopic, Ali. "You shook up the World! My Mentor & My Friend. You changed my Life. Rest in Peace," Smith wrote on Facebook the following Saturday after Ali's death.
In honor of The People's Champion, Sony Pictures will re-release Ali this weekend, screening the film in a few hundred theaters nationwide.
"With the passing of Muhammad Ali, we have received many requests for this film to return to theaters, in celebration of his life," Rory Bruer, president of Worldwide Distribution for Sony Pictures, said. "The film truly honors everything that made Ali one of the central figures of our time, a man who commanded his sport but whose personal faith and principles made him mean so much more."
Back in 2001 (prior to the film's release) Ali, Smith and Oprah Winfrey discussed the biopic on her talk show, with the boxing legend telling the audience that Smith "scared me" because of how well the actor portrayed him. "The champ looked at me and gave me the nod that I did a good job," Smith responded. "I worked as hard as I could possibly have worked."
The acclaimed actor received an Oscar nomination for best actor because of his portrayal of the three-time world heavyweight champion. Fourteen years later, and Smith presented the the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award to Jack Nicklaus at Sports Illustrated's annual Sportsperson of the Year dinner, where he used the opportunity to speak on Ali's greatness and the honor of acting as him.
"For nearly two years, I worked to transform myself into the man who changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali and shook up the world. That's really what makes my job so beautiful as an actor. For four or five months at a time, I get to wear people's lives, so I got to wear Muhammad Ali's greatness. I got to study and feel and embody the soul of the man...from the foundations of Islam and the strength of his Muslim faith and his life to the beautiful wake that he always leaves in his magnificent path."