Ice Cube is set to hit the boxing ring—and the big screen—for his starring role in Flint Strong. The upcoming Universal Pictures film is based on the 2015 boxing documentary T-REX, which tells the true story of Flint, Michigan’s Claressa “T-REX” Shields.
Cube joins Ryan Destiny in the cast, who will star as Shields. The 17-year-old boxing champion dreamed of becoming the first woman in history to win an Olympic gold medal for boxing, accomplishing her goal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
“This is my first official big studio film lead role. It’s surreal. It hasn’t really hit me. I don’t think it will until everything comes out, and we’re there,” Destiny told REVOLT about landing the role. “Claressa is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. She’s so interesting and so tough. She’s so real and confident.”
For the starring role, Destiny has had to train in boxing and stick to a strict diet.
“I have meal prep every week. It’s a chef that makes it for me. She’s been really great with trying making sure that even though the food is very healthy, I still like it,” she explained. “I had to actually go into a gym with a trainer that I didn’t really know just to film a video to send to a casting director of me boxing. To look at that video now, it’s crazy. I’ve grown so much.”
Cube will play her coach, Jason Crutchfield.
The film also marks the directorial debut of Rachel Morrison, who is best known for her work on Black Panther and becoming the first female cinematographer to ever be nominated for an Oscar.
The script is written by Barry Jenkins, who will also produce alongside Michael De Luca and Elishia Holmes.
Shields, who is now 24, made history again last month by beating Ivana Habazin in a unanimous decision to win both the WBC and WBO light-middleweight titles. With her 10th fight victorious, Shields became the fastest man or woman ever to win titles across three different boxing weight classes.