Will Smith famously depicted Muhammad Ali in the biopic Ali, and the film was considered to been one of the best in recent decades. According to Wired, Will Smith’s Ali is epic; the opening of Ali features a 1964 Cassius Clay, running during a winter evening, hoodie up, eyes down. From that moment, the film masters the cutaway, moving between past and present. It depicts Ali as a child, dealing with a “coloreds only” bus situation, flashes forward to an adult Muhammad Ali getting hassled by cops, and even listening to a speech by the infamous Malcolm X.
“Your times will never get better unless you make them better.”
Will Smith soars during the opening scene of Ali, depicting these fleeting but critical puzzle pieces of Ali’s life before hitting on Muhammad Ali’s most famous quote, as Will Smith says, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
Check out Will Smith in the role of Muhammad Ali, which some call the “role of his lifetime.”
If you haven’t yet seen Will Smith portray Muhammad Ali in Ali, you can check the flick out for yourself on HBO Now, where the 2001 biopic is playing until the end of July.
Muhammad Ali passed away late on June 3 at the age of 74, and of all of his Hollywood cohorts, Will Smith reportedly became one of the closest to him. The film Ali focuses on the years of his life stretching between 1964 and 1974, and in the biopic, Will Smith portrays the iconic boxer to perfection. The film begins with Ali knocking out Sonny Liston and ends with Muhammad Ali (portrayed by Will Smith) reclaiming his world heavyweight boxing title by hammering down George Foreman during the “Rumble in the Jungle.”
In addition to getting increased attention for his portrayal of Muhammad Ali, Will Smith is coming once again into the public eye because of his close, personal relationship with Ali himself.
As the Courier-Journal reports, in addition to starring as Ali, Will Smith will be among the pallbearers at Muhammad Ali’s upcoming funeral services. Ali’s funeral is expected to take place on Friday, June 10.
Will Smith won’t be the only famous face honoring Ali at his upcoming funeral. He will be joined by former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, who spoke of Muhammad Ali earlier this week.
“He was like family, like a father. He is going to be forever missed and always remembered. Words cannot begin to describe the loss we all face in the passing of one of the greatest citizens this world has ever known. Boxing has lost its greatest ambassador and the world has lost one of its greatest voices.”
Will Smith will be joined by Jerry Ellis (brother of former Ali sparring partner Jimmy Ellis), Muhammad Ali’s cousins Jan Wadell and John Grady, Ali’s nephew Ibn Ali, his ex-brother-in-law Komawi Ali, as well as a friend of the family, John Ramsey.
Muhammad Ali’s funeral, which will be attended by Will Smith among numerous and untold members of Hollywood, political and athletic royalty, will take place in Louisville.
Despite the impressive guest list, which includes Will Smith, Ali’s funeral will be open to the general public. This means any Ali fan who can make it to the venue in Kentucky is invited to attend. For fans and followers of Muhammad Ali who are unable to attend the funeral, the memorial service for “The Greatest” will be livestreamed online.
What do you think? Will the death of Muhammad Ali inspire you to check out Ali? Was Will Smith a good choice to depict the three-time world heavyweight champ in his biopic? Are you a fan of Will Smith, Muhammad Ali and/or both?
[Photo by Photo by Gregorio Binuya/Getty Images]