JAY-Z is teaming up with actor Michael B. Jordan to put together an Amazon limited series based on the life of Muhammad Ali. With the late boxing icon’s estate also involved, the show — tentatively titled The Greatest — will be executive produced by Jordan’s Outlier Society and Hov’s Roc Nation with Josh Wakely on board as the writer.
During a recent interview with Deadline, Jordan spoke about what the upcoming series will entail and his excitement about honoring Ali as a boxing fan first and foremost.
“It’s an incredible honor and I bring tons of respect to it,” he said. “It’s a healthy weight to carry, to be able to tell the story of Muhammad Ali. It’s called The Greatest right now and we’re partnered with Roc Nation on the music side of things.
“It’s a project where we’ve partnered with the estate and we’ll be able to tell this story with no red tape. It’s a limited series that will really dive into the life of Muhammad Ali. I’m not going to be too specific beyond that, but we’ll be able to get to know him in ways we haven’t had a chance to before.”
He continued, “I’m really excited about it, as a boxing enthusiast and since this is the world I’ve been living in the past five or six years with the Creed franchise. To be able to honor Muhammad Ali and elaborate on his legacy is something I’m really excited about, and I know Jen (Amazon Studios CEO) and Amazon are as well.”
Due to Jordan’s association with the Creed franchise, he won’t be playing the role of Ali, but he’ll be a key factor in developing a series that differs from the man portrayed in 2001’s Will Smith-starring Ali and 2020’s Regina King-directed One Night in Miami.
“This is character-driven and compelling,” Jordan said. “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.
“And no, I’m not playing that guy, I can say that for sure, and we are still in [the] early stages here and can’t say too much. We are still putting the pieces together, but it feels like something to look forward to in the future.”
With music provided by Roc Nation, the label could take the opportunity to build a giant original soundtrack in the vein of Kendrick Lamar’s Black Panther: The Album, Mike WiLL Made-It’s Creed II: The Album and Hit-Boy’s Judas and the Black Messiah: The Inspired Album.
Hov’s presence in the TV and film industry continues to grow between his involvement in upcoming Netflix movies Forty Acres and The Harder They Fall starring Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Lakeith Stanfield and Regina King, as well as a six-episode ABC series Women of the Movement, which follows the story of Emmett Till’s mother Mamie Till.
Jordan previously starred in Jay’s Beyoncé-featured video for “Family Feud” alongside an all-star cast including Rashida Jones, Jessica Chastain, Rosario Dawson, Brie Larson, Thandie Newton and Mindy Kaling.
Revisit the “Family Feud” visual below.