Actor and director, Sylvester Stallone, will produce a movie about the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Johnson.
After Jack Johnson was posthumously pardoned in recent days by the US president, Donald Trump, Sylvester Stallone is bringing the boxing legend’s story to the big screen. The “Rocky” star is set to produce a new movie celebrating the life of the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion, later convicted on racially motivated charges during the era of racial segregation in the USA.
Produced by Sylvester Stallone’s Balboa Productions, the movie will tell the incredible story of Jack Johnson, whose presidential pardon was granted after the American actor contacted the US president in April to bring the boxer’s treatment to his attention. Donald Trump said in a tweet:
Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial. Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2018
On July 4, 1910, the Afro-American boxer, already world champion, made history once again by defeating a white boxer, James Jeffries, in front of 25,000 spectators in Reno, Nevada, at a time when black boxers were forbidden from competing against white boxers in the prestigious heavyweight category. Jack Johnson was victorious in the fight — dubbed the “fight of the century” — despite loud chants of “kill the nigger” from the mostly white audience. Violence erupted after the fight, with racist groups attacking African-Americans, causing dozens of deaths.
In 1912, Jack Johnson was arrested on the grounds that his relationship with a white woman, Lucille Cameron, violated the 1910 Mann Act for transporting a woman across state lines for “immoral purposes.” Johnson was convicted by an all-white jury in 1913 and sentenced to a year and a day in prison. He skipped bail and fled the USA, only returning in 1920.
A production date for the picture is yet to be announced. Sylvester Stallone is reteaming with MGM on the project, after previously partnering with the studio on the “Rocky” spinoff “Creed.”