Ang Lee’s 3D ‘Thrilla in Manila’ Movie Eyes David Oyelowo and Ray Fisher for Frazier and Ali
Before Ang Lee began production on Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, the director was set to follow Life of Pi with another 3D film, moving the action from the ocean to the boxing ring with the story of Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali’s legendary match. The untitled film has found new life as Lee has moved the project from Universal to Studio 8, with Ray Fisher and Selma’s David Oyelowo emerging as frontrunners for the main event.
The Wrap reports that Lee’s untitled 3D boxing movie is back on after switching over to Studio 8. Based on the famous “Thrilla in Manila” boxing match between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, the film was reportedly put on hold as Lee went to work on Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and “waited for technology to catch up with his ambitious vision.”
The screenplay was written by Peter Morgan, who previously scripted Frost/Nixon — which was essentially a boxing film sans any actual boxing. Not much else is known at this time, though David Oyelowo and Ray Fisher are reportedly Lee’s top choices for the leading roles, as they were when the project was still at universal.
Oyelowo is best known for his role as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in last year’s Selma, while Fisher has been cast as Cyborg in Warner Bros.’ DC film universe. Fisher already has experience playing Ali, having previously taken on the role of the real-life boxing legend in the stage play Fetch Clay, Make Man.
Lee will begin work on the untitled Thrilla in Manila movie after he completes post-production on Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which stars Kristen Stewart, Steve Martin and Vin Diesel (yes, for real) and arrives next November.