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Benjamin Walker Joins Stephen Frears' 'Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight'; Archival Footage To Be Used To Portray Famed Boxer

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by Benjamin Wright
February 16, 2012 9:17 AM
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Benjamin Walker burst onto the radar of many when he was cast as Beast in Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class,” before subsequently being ousted for age reasons and replaced by Nicholas Hoult. Walker wasted little time finding more high-profile work, hopping aboard the recently defunct Alex Proyas tentpole “Paradise Lost”  along with landing the lead role in the Tim Burton-produced, Timur Bekmambetov-directed mashup fest “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”

Looks like Walker isn’t slowing down, as he’s now about to hop on board the Stephen Frears-helmed Muhammad Ali biopic “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” for HBO Films, where he’ll be joining good company in the presence of veteran actors Christopher Plummer and Frank Langella. According to Variety, Walker is closing a deal with HBO on the picture, which chronicles Ali’s trial following his arrest for anti-Vietnam sentiments and behavior when drafted to serve in the war. Walker will play Kevin Kennedy, a Supreme Court clerk who supported Ali and even wrote briefs that would help to maintain the boxer's status as a conscientious objector of the war. What’s also interesting here is that the trade states that Frears has chosen to use archival footage to portray Ali, rather than casting an actor in the role of the cultural icon.

Walker’s schedule was apparently freed up after the seemingly disaster-prone blockbuster epic “Paradise Lost” was canceled by Legendary Pictures, and we’re sure the recent buzz surrounding the surprisingly impressive trailers for “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” don’t hurt his future career prospects either. While he had fine turns in the Clint Eastwood-helmed “Flags of Our Fathers,” as well as playing a 19-year-old Liam Neeson in “Kinsey,” Walker is certainly an actor on the rise.

We’d like to hope this one will start rolling soon as it seems to be lining up its cast rather quickly. We presume we'll see this on the cable network sometime next year.

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