True Detective star Mahershala Ali returning to HBO for Jack Johnson limited series
Mahershala Ali is getting back in the ring with HBO.
After starring in the most recent installment of True Detective, the two-time Oscar winner is set to play boxing legend Jack Johnson in the upcoming limited series Unruly.
Based on Ken Burns' PBS documentary Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson and Geoffrey C. Ward's companion book, the six-episode project is described as an "unapologetically Black, no-holds-barred telling of Jack Johnson, the world's first Black heavyweight boxing champion. This bold exploration depicts the champion's rise to athletic greatness and the costs he paid for his skin and defiance, which created a blueprint for Black resistance in every justice movement for generations to come."
This will mark Ali's second go-around as Johnson, as one of his first professional acting jobs was portraying the dominant champion in a 2000 stage production of The Great White Hope.
Unruly boasts a heavyweight team behind the scenes, with playwright Dominique Morisseau serving as writer and executive producer. Joining the Shameless alum as producers will be Ali, Tom Hanks, and Beau Willimon, who cast a pre-movie-star Ali on House of Cards.
Ali can currently be seen in a crucial role on the critically acclaimed Hulu series Ramy. "I couldn't have done it with anyone who wasn't of the composure of him," Ramy creator and star Ramy Youssef recently told EW of Ali, who was cast after he called Youssef to praise the show. "It speaks to just how amazing this dude is, to meet someone who is this Academy Award winner two times over and walks onto the set of a sophomore show and says, 'What do you want me to do?' It's really rare."