*There were three big revelations in watching an early screener of HBO’s upcoming film “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight,” premiering in October.
1. The film is not a documentary about a particular boxing match involving Ali, but rather a drama about Ali’s Supreme Court battle to avoid the Vietnam War.
2. Justice Thurgood Marshall recused himself from the case because he was fiercely against the Nation of Islam, which Ali had joined.
3. Justice Thurgood Marshall loved watching his stories.
The esteemed legal mastermind who argued “Brown vs. Board of Education” and was appointed to high-level positions by two U.S. presidents before becoming the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court — was indeed all caught up in the Hortons and Bradys of NBC’s “Days of our Lives.” Marshall’s addiction to the daytime drama is depicted in director Stephen Frears’ film, which details exactly how the Supreme Court justices went from rejecting Ali’s conscientious objector status to ultimately voting in his favor.
Marshall, played by Danny Glover in the film, not only watched “Days” in his chambers, but had no problem showing up late to meetings with his fellow justices if an episode had yet to end.
Below, the film’s screenwriter Shawn Slovo says yes, this is all true.
So far, HBO has released only a teaser trailer for “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight,” to premiere Oct. 5 at 8 p.m.. Ali is not portrayed by an actor in the film; he appears only through archival footage. The film focuses mainly on Justice Harlan (Christopher Plummer) and his clerk, played by “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” star Benjamin Walker.
Watch the teaser below.