After delivering the goods in fine style as part of ensemble casts or in supporting roles, we’re pleased to see David Oyelowo getting more attention from directors and now lining up leading roles. He’s attached to play legendary boxer Sugar Ray Robinson in a new biopic.
The film, which Wil Haygood has adapted from his biography Sweet Thunder: The Life And Times Of Sugar Ray Robinson, focuses on the titular boxing legend himself, long considered one of the best in the business. He met and bested Jake LaMotta six times in his career, among other highlights.
The movie will likely chronicle Robinson's earlier days, when he spent too many nights watching lesser fighters in the ring because he refused to kowtow to the mobsters running the sport and throw fights. He was involved in helping to expose the darker corners of the business.
This cinematic take on his days came about thanks to Lee Daniels’ film The Butler. Daniels – who had worked with Oyelowo on The Paperboy – cast him in his White House epic, which was based on articles by Haywood and scripted by Danny Strong. Daniels, Oyelowo and Strong talked about Robinson and started figuring out the screenplay in between takes. Now Strong, who is producing, may also polish the screenplay depending on whoever is hired to direct it.
Oyelowo will next be seen in two big films, as he’s in Jack Reacher (out December 26) and Lincoln (which arrives January 25).