Mahershala Ali’s will be gearing up for his dream role. The Oscar-winner is set to portray boxer, Jack Johnson, in an upcoming limited series on HBO.
According to Deadline, Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are behind the six-part series titled, Unruly. The film is based off the book and PBS documentary, Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson.
Unruly is described as an “unapologetically Black, no-holds bar” depiction of Johnson’s rise and fall. Ali previously portrayed Johnson in the 2000 boxing film, The Great White Hype.
In 1913, he was convicted of violating the Man Act for allegedly picking up prostitutes. Despite the fact that Johnson’s committed the offense before the Act went into effect, he was convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to a year in prison but he skipped bail and fled to Canada with his girlfriend, Lucille Cameron. Johnson remained in exile in Canada and later in Europe, Mexico and South America before returning to the U.S. in 1920 and serving out his one-year sentence. He died in a car accident in 1946.
Johnson received a posthumous presidential pardon in 2019.