David Poland
August 02, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

It’s the return of the Greatest. Muhammad Ali, who provided the most heartrending moment of the Olympic opening ceremonies, will be the main event in Hollywood this fall. Ali’s comeback (of sorts) begins Sept. 3 when TNT premieres Ali: The Real Story, a two-hour compilation of rare footage that promises not to pull any punches about the fighter’s controversial career. Round two starts in February with the release of Gramercy’s documentary When We Were Kings, which will take moviegoers to the ”Rumble in the Jungle,” Ali’s 1974 slugfest with George Foreman in Zaire. But the knockout promises to be Columbia’s planned Ali biopic. ”It’s still in development, and we love it,” says Kevin Jones, senior VP of production at the studio. ”But there’s no script or director attached.” However, one of the film’s coproducers, Howard Bingham, a longtime Ali associate, already knows whose name should float like a butterfly above the credits: ”Will Smith’s athletic and he’s funny,” says Bingham, ”but he’ll have to put on some weight.”

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