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Usher Confirms He's Set To Play Sugar Ray Leonard, Calls It 'Proper Casting,' Talks Oscar Potential

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act June 11, 2012 at 2:40PM

Well, one thing you can't say he lacks is confidence... it hasn't been officially announced as of our last post on it, but I'd say that this is as good as a confirmation as we can get.
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Usher

Well, one thing you can't say he lacks is confidence... it hasn't been officially announced as of our last post on it, but I'd say that this is as good as a confirmation as we can get.

In a profile with the UK's Independent, Usher (who's been in London, training for the part) talked in depth about his upcoming role as boxer Sugar Ray Leonard in Hands of Stone, starring opposite Robert De Niro and Gael García Bernal, in a story that will center primarily on Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán (played by Bernal).

The highlights of that profile/conversation:

On what the appeal of the part was for him...

"It was proper casting," he shrugs. "I was selected. They approached me to do it. And all I had to was consider it."

On his "proper casting" compared to the abilities of De Niro and Bernal ("proper actors"), and whether he is at all intimidated at getting in the ring with them, so to speak...

"Not at all," he says, "not at all. There's a respect for both parties. I've seen Oscar winners come out of left field."

On Oscar winners coming out of left field, and what he believes his chances are with this particular role...

"I'm just saying Jennifer Hudson," comes his reply (it's not a denial), by which he means: Hudson, an American Idol runner-up, won an Oscar for her first-ever film role, in Dreamgirls. "I'm not even saying..." he begins. "You asked me, is it OK to assume that an actor who doesn't have as much skill can't out-act an actor who is well-decorated? And what I'm saying is, if you take a moment to just analyse... No... I'm not intimidated in any way. Because there's a shared passion and respect among all of us, and it's the type of script that will allow all of us to shine."

He added further...

"I don't know if this is the one that would win me an Oscar or not. I'm going into it offering my interpretation and my hard work and my dedication to be the best Sugar Ray ever. Or as good as the man can be. I've spoken to him, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to live up to him. But I'll try to be better than him."

Like I said... call it confidence, arrogance, or... something else.

Regardless, he's in it, whether you like it or not; I recall the reactions to our first post on this were just about all negative. 

The full Independent piece HERE.


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