Boxing great George Foreman talks about Sony Pictures Classics releasing "Big George Foreman" in theaters April 28
Sony Pictures Classics releases exclusively in movie theaters April 28 BIG GEORGE FOREMAN: THE MIRACULOUS STORY OF THE ONCE AND FUTURE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD.
Two time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, 1968 Olympic Gold Medalist and entrepreneur extraordinaire George Foreman joined SportsJam with Doug Doyle to talk about the movie that is directed by acclaimed filmmaker George Tillman, Jr.
The film stars Khris Davis (Judas and the Black Messiah) as George Foreman and Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) portrays Foreman's trainer and mentor Doc Broadus.
George Foreman admits he was teary-eyed when he first saw Big George Foreman on the screen.
"Boy, you consider where you've come from and you think impossible and you cry a little bit because there was a time there wasn't any hope. Things like potential and success didn't exist. So you sit there and kind of shed a tear and then you go and enjoy the entertainment of the movie."
The film is based on the remarkable true story of one of the greatest comebacks of all time and the transformational power of second chances. Fueled by an impoverished childhood, Foreman channeled his anger into becoming an Olympic Gold medalist and World Heavyweight Champion, followed by a near-death experience that took him from the boxing ring to the pulpit. But when he sees his community struggling spiritually and financially, Foreman returns to the ring and makes history by reclaiming his title, becoming the oldest and most improbable World Heavyweight Boxing Champion ever.
"This boxing movie Big George is good because it's about all of us who start from nothing, especially people who come into this country, immigrants who look around and see no hope, and then all of a sudden they can rise. It doesn't matter who you are. The George Foreman story is about all of us who have nothing but yet pick up faith in God and we have it all. And in the end, we find out faith is the most important thing."
Foreman was thrilled his long-time friend George Tillman directed the film.
"When someone is doing you story, you try to keep your life a secret being a celebrity and all and there's a lot of things you don't to reveal. But when he did, taking them from pages and putting it in film, the art was wonderful. The guy really has a gift. Khris Davis followed his direction. Wonderful!"
Big George Foreman comes from a story by Dan Gordon and Frank Baldwin & George Tillman Jr, and a screenplay by Baldwin & Tillman.
During the SportsJam interview, host Doyle asked George, who was a terrific boxing commentator for many years, if he would have used a different strategy against Muhammad Ali when the great 35-year old fighter used the "Rope a Dope" technique in the "Rumble in the Jungle" in 1974. The 25-year old champion Foreman would punch himself out early in the contest and eventually be knocked out by Ali in the eighth round.
"Let's face it. Muhammad Ali was one clever guy. He was one of the few boxers that would get into the ring and not only think about brute strength, he used his mind. I think if I tried something else back in those days he would have headed me off at the pass and done something else. The guy was that smart, really talented. You think of a different strategy, you needed a different man because that guy was special."
After a troubled childhood, Foreman took up amateur boxing and won a gold medal in the heavyweight division at the 1968 Summer Olympics. Having turned professional the next year, he won the world heavyweight title with a stunning second-round knockout of then-undefeated Joe Frazier in 1973. He defended the belt twice before suffering his first professional loss to Ali in the iconic "Rumble in the Jungle". Unable to secure another title opportunity, Foreman retired after a loss to Jimmy Young in 1977. Then years later, the comeback that no one would have predicted.
And if you are wondering, yes there's even a scene about the Foreman Grill.
You can SEE the entire SportsJam interview with George Foreman here.