Marvel's Blade star Mahershala Ali signs up for new TV show Unruly

Susannah Alexander
Photo credit: MARK RALSTON - Getty Images

From Digital Spy

Marvel's Blade actor Mahershala Ali has signed up to play boxing legend Jack Johnson in a new HBO limited series.

Variety reports that Unruly will consist of six episodes and is described as "an unapologetically Black, no-holds-barred telling of Jack Johnson, the world's first Black heavyweight boxing champion".

Johnson, who was nicknamed the 'Galveston Giant', was the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion, with his 1910 bout against James J Jeffries called the 'fight of the century'. The series is set to explore his rise to athletic greatness and the racism he had to endure.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Related: Blade star opens up about Marvel reboot with Mahershala Ali

Double Oscar winner Ali is the only cast member confirmed for the drama so far and he will also executive produce through his production company Know Wonder alongside his wife Amatus Karim Ali and their producing partner Mimi Valdés.

Dominique Morisseau will write and executive produce the series, while Tom Hanks will also executive produce via Playtone alongside Gary Goetzman.

The series is based on Ken Burns' 2004 PBS documentary Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson and the accompanying book by Geoffrey C Ward.

Photo credit: The Stanley Weston Archive/Getty Images

Ali is also soon set to take on the role of Marvel's Blade, a half-human, half-immortal vampire hunter who takes down supernatural threats, in a future MCU movie. He has actually appeared in a Marvel property before, playing villainous Cornell 'Cottonmouth' Stokes in the first season of Marvel's Luke Cage.

The actor has won Oscars for his roles in Moonlight and Green Book and has also received Primetime Emmy Award nominations for House of Cards and the third season of True Detective, the latter of which was also a HBO production.

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