The life and legend of late boxer Jack Johnson is heading to the big screen according to the trades this week. The project is being set up at MGM with the launch of Balboa Productions with actor Sylvester Stallone shepherding the project with Hell Or High Water and Wind River executive producer Braden Aftergood.
The legendary boxer’s story became synonymous with racial injustice in America at the height of the Jim Crow era, wherein 1910, he was arrested, convicted of violating the Mann Act and served ten months in prison for transporting a white woman, with whom he was in a relationship, across state lines.
Led by Stallone and campaigned as well by Senators John McCain and Ken Burns, Johnson, a heavyweight boxing champion from 1908 to 1915, was long the center of a push toward a hopeful presidential pardon that came last week. Johnson passed away in 1946.
MGM President of Motion Pictures Jonathan Glickman and the studio’s executive VP of production, Adam Rosenberg, are overseeing. The film adds to the workload on Stallone’s to-do list which currently includes Creed 2, a fourth Expendables film and a new installment of Rambo.