In this Big Fight Weekend exclusive, Boxing Hall of Famer George Foreman talks about his upcoming biopic “Big George Foreman,” which hits theaters on April 28.
Coming up towards the end of the month, on April 28, a biopic (Big George Foreman) will come out on a man who became not only one of the greatest heavyweights of all time but also an extremely successful entrepreneur. I can only be speaking of George Edward Foreman (76-5, 68 KOs), better known as “Big George.” Foreman’s life and career are filled with highs and lows, but through it all, his accomplishments and impact on the sport are why he was inducted into The International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003.
WHO IS GEORGE FOREMAN?
Although the question of who George Foreman is may sound ridiculous to the sport’s purists, there are still people who don’t know, especially those classified as Generation Z. Foreman was born on January 10, 1949, in Marshall, TX. Although he was considered a teen with a chip on his shoulder, he navigated toward the Job Corps, which is where he found the sport of boxing. As he experienced the amateurs, Foreman fought his way to a Gold Medal at the 1968 Olympics.
After turning pro in 1969, Foreman punched his way up the ranks striking fear in his opponents with his 6’4” frame and ice-cold demeanor. Four years after turning pro, Foreman knocked out the great Joe Frazier in just two rounds, earning him the heavyweight crown. Foreman would face boxing legend Muhammad Ali a year later in the iconic “Rumble in the Jungle.” Foreman lost the title to Ali that night in one of the most talked about heavyweight title fights ever. After that loss, Foreman could not secure a rematch, faced Jimmy Young, who he lost to as well, and then retired for the first time in 1977.
Foreman stayed retired for ten years and then one day decided to make a comeback and do something that no one has ever done before; become the oldest heavyweight champion of all time. His comeback wasn’t pretty, but, in most cases, he got the job done until finally, in 1994, he faced Michael Moorer for the unified heavyweight title, which he won by knocking Moorer out in the tenth round of their Las Vegas fight.
Foreman would keep fighting, and after losing to Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs in 1997, he decided to retire once again but stay retired this time. While his boxing career was on and off, Foreman came up with an idea turned appliance that would be revolutionary; “The George Foreman Grill.” By 2009, Foreman had sold over 100 million units, which later sparked financial deals, making him one of the most successful entrepreneurs of his time.
GEORGE FOREMAN & SONY PICTURES PRODUCE THE FILM “BIG GEORGE FOREMAN”
When speaking to Foreman on the phone, you can’t help but get wrapped up in his charm. I asked how he was doing; Foreman immediately answered, “Life is good, life is great.” Yes, it is, as the 74-year-old Texas native will soon have his biopic at movie theaters nationwide and worldwide. The first question about the film was how it came about and why now? Foreman told Big Fight Weekend, “It’s been in the works for a long time, but I think right now is the best time. It’s been in the works for many years, but something would always come up, and we would have to stop. Even with the film crew down in New Orleans, when the big storm came through, it tore up all of the props and places they had to film, but we stayed on it. Sony never gave up, and I never gave up. It’s a good time to have it out right now.”
The challenging part of doing a film on such a polarizing figure like Foreman is finding the actor to play him. Actor Khris Davis (Judas and the Black Messiah, Space Jam: A New Legacy) was tapped to deliver a performance that was not only believable but one that would give the character the level of energy necessary to touch the hearts and minds of those watching. With biopics, it’s always interesting to hear about what it’s like seeing someone play you on the big screen.
Foreman told Big Fight Weekend, “The one thing I was happy about, I said all along, if someone has the part of George Foreman in the movie, I wanted him to be a real actor and not just some celebrity. This guy was really a stage actor. He took the part really good; gaining weight, losing weight, punching; ah man, he played the part. He was falling for the “Rumble in the Jungle,” and I thought they would take that off, but they said, ‘Nah, we’ll leave it in.’ Khris Davis did a wonderful job. When you have a movie about your life, you think, ‘Man, this (movie) will outlive me.’ So, it’s kind of scary to have someone do a movie about your life because maybe my life is about to end if they did a movie (chuckled).”
The level of input from the person that the film is on can determine what the finished product looks like. Foreman compared the scriptwriting process to having a sparring partner where you have “to build it, tear it down, and then build it back up.” Foreman said, “It wasn’t easy work because you have to understand that George Foreman is one person, but the movie George Foreman is another person, so there was a little conflict, but we got it done.”
On April 28, when Big George Foreman hits the big screen, what does the Hall of Famer want the people watching to get out of it? Foreman told Big Fight Weekend, “I hope they are happy about the movie because when I saw the movie myself, it became apparent to me that no matter how low you start, you can always go to the top. It was apparent in the movie. This movie is about giving a second and third chance; anyone can do it. It doesn’t matter what journey you’re on, all you have to do is keep getting up, keep punching, and you can reach the mountaintop. There is nothing to stop you but yourself.”
MY THREE CENTS
George Foreman is an American Icon and a boxing legend. He is a true example of how you can overcome adversity regardless of the odds that are stacked against you. As much as we support films that don’t add value to our lives, here is an opportunity to see something that could motivate us to do the things we want to do in life regardless of our personal situations. Go see Big George Foreman in theaters on April 28.