Muhammad Ali’s life remains an inspirational story to countless people around the world. To bring The Greatest’s achievements to the silver screen, actors Morgan Freeman and Regé-Jean Page, and director Kevin Willmott are developing a new TV series for Peacock. The eight-part scripted drama, titled “Excellence: 8 Fights,” is based on Jonathan Eig’s biography Ali: A Life and will portray the boxing legend’s journey to the top.
Variety reported today (March 9) that Page, Freeman, and Willmott have signed on to the upcoming project as executive producers. They’re joined by Eig, who will serve as producer. But, unlike a traditional biopic, it won’t necessarily follow Cassius Clay from his home in Louisville to his hallowed place in history. It will focus instead on eight fights in his career and where he was in his life at the time, as well as the lessons learned from each experience.
“[‘Excellence: 8 Fights’ will] chronicle eight distinct and defining moments in the iconic life of Muhammad Ali,” the show’s description reads, per Variety. “Each episode will be framed by one fight from Ali’s life, but the essence of the episode, what it’s really about, is the internal fight — the drama outside the ring — where we will explore the struggle going on in the heart and mind of one of the most consequential and controversial figures of the 20th century.”
In February 2021, Michael B. Jordan and Roc Nation announced that they were working on a limited series about Ali titled “The Greatest.” “It’s a project where we’ve partnered with the estate and we’ll be able to tell this story with no red tape,” Jordan told Deadline at the time. “People know Muhammad Ali from his boxing days, but this is an opportunity to go beyond the ring and more into the man. It’s going to give more of a 360-degree view of who he was.” However, since Jordan shared that news, fans haven’t gotten any updates surrounding the show. It remains unclear if “The Greatest” is moving forward and if “Excellence: 8 Fights” serves as its replacement.
It’s not the only project centered around the boxer that’s in the works at the moment. In September 2022, Deadline reported that the civil rights pioneer’s life story is being adapted into a Broadway musical called ALI. The production has the blessing from Lonnie Ali, his widow.