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Telling the Story of Big George Foreman

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
Ahead of the world premiere on Friday, Boardroom spoke exclusively with the champion himself, as well as the cast of ‘Big George Foreman.’

Trying to tell George Foreman’s story is a challenge. Trying to do it right could be downright overwhelming.

It’s why the boxing legend has resisted pitches for a biopic in the past.

“I’ve been approached many times about making a movie about me,” he told Boardroom in an exclusive conversation. “And then Sony Pictures came out and even came into my home and even presented me with a script. Then I knew it was time because I had to tell a story of hope. Most of my life I’ve grown up without hope but now I can tell my story to the world.”

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Foreman’s movie hits theaters Friday and he is finally ready for everyone to see his entire life in a two-hour film. ‘Big George Foreman’ will touch on his childhood, journey to being an Olympic Gold medalist and World Heavyweight Champion, and his epic return to the ring to become the oldest World Heavyweight Boxing champion ever.

“I can’t tell you [that] it tells you everything, but one picture is worth one thousand words,” he said, audibly elated by the final product.

The reason for that could be George Tillman Jr., the director tasked with creating a masterpiece.

“It was a very challenging movie because most boxing movies are fictional,” Tillman Jr. said. “These boxing events are one of the top five historical boxing matches of all time. We have a very iconic protagonist in George Foreman. [Foreman] is a character who changes from one section of the film to a new person.”

Someone who made Tillman Jr.’s job easier is Academy Award winner Forest Whittaker. Whittaker played the role of Doc Broadus, George Foreman’s coach. Though Whittaker has an exhaustive list of credits to his name, from Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland, to Saw Gerrera in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, to Zuri in Black Panther, he told Boardroom that Doc Broadus was different. And, yes, Whittaker had played coaches and trainers before.

Whitaker found it amusing to see the energy that traveled on set within the action scenes. As someone who has seen so much, the feeling of passion is what made him feel at ease.

“Being on a team was fun,” he said. “This film depicts someone who is an ordinary guy that has nothing but because of his purpose and desire is able to accomplish great things. Audiences will enjoy this.”

Whitaker stood alongside the person who was most scared of messing up, Khris Davis, who plays Foreman.

“It was overwhelming,” Davis said. “When you have such an icon that spans several decades there is a huge responsibility to authenticate who this individual is and was. People know him from many different facets of his life.”

And so when the world sees him playing Big George Foreman, what will they think?

“When people watch things, they take whatever they take on a personal level and take it with them,” he said. “I can’t speak for everyone’s viewing experience, I just know that we covered a lot and barely scratched the surface of Mr. Foreman’s story. I hope that all of the sacrifice, work and energy that we put into this story comes across.”

Big George Foreman releases nationwide in theaters this Friday, April 28.

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About The Author
Randall Williams
Randall Williams
Randall Williams is a former Staff Writer at Boardroom specializing in sports business and music. He previously worked for Sportico, Andscape and Bloomberg. His byline has also been syndicated in the Boston Globe and Time Magazine. Williams' notable profile features include NFL Executive VP Troy Vincent, Dreamville co-founder Ibrahim Hamad, BMX biker Nigel Sylvester, and both Shedeur and Shilo Sanders. Randall, a graduate of "The Real HU" -- Hampton University — is most proud of scooping Howard University joining Jordan Brand nearly three months before the official announcement.