Khris Davis still can’t believe he’s playing George Foreman in the heavyweight champion’s new biopic.
The actor plays the boxing legend throughout his life in Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World.
“I was worried that they were going to let me go for a long time. I mean, even the first couple of weeks of filming, I was like, I don’t even know if they’re going to keep me here, man. I don’t know if I could do it,” he confessed.
Director George Tillman Jr. told HipHollywood they searched far and wide to find the right actor to play Foreman.
“I couldn’t believe at 6’4, he could play George bigger. George smaller. He had the acting chops. And I didn’t need to have three actors to play George. For me, I just need two, the little boy and Khris to play both. So that was the moment I felt like I found my George Foreman.”
The warts-and-all drama follows the Texas native from extreme poverty in his youth to discovering boxing at a Job Corps program to his shocking triumph over Joe Frazier for the heavyweight title belt in 1973. The film also follows Foreman’s marquee fight against Muhammad Ali in 1974, his retirement and stint as a preacher — before mounting an unprecedented comeback, rising to world champ again in 1994 at the unlikely age of 45.
Davis not only put in the work to portray Foreman during the height of his heavyweight career but also during his hiatus from the sport.
“A fat suit was on the table. Surely was. A bald cap was on the table. A fake afro was on the table. It was all on the table. A stunt double was on the table. But I didn’t want any of it,” said Davis. “I wanted to do all of my stunts, so I did them all. I did all the fights. That was my hair. That was my bald head. No prosthetics at all. I gained that weight. I went from 225 to 275 in five weeks, and the heaviest I got was 282. And I was eating 7000 calories a day to do it.”
Foreman was also extremely hands on in the making of the film and spent time with Khris to help him transform into the heavyweight champ.
“I met with him a couple of times, looked him in the eye, made him look me in the eye, and he looked away. I said, no, look me in the eye until you see yourself and he brought it alive,” said Foreman.
“What made it really easy is that I could make a phone call and he was available when I needed a question, because there’s always something that we wanted to know,” said Tillman of working with Foreman on the film. “What was he thinking with Ali before he got knocked down? What was he thinking in the five fights? Why do you fight five guys in one night?”
Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World, also starring Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker and Sonya Sohn, is in theaters now.
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