Date: 6th February 2001
WILL SMITH was worried about playing MUHAMMAD ALI in a new bio-pic - until the legendary boxer phoned the actor himself.
The INDEPENDENCE DAY star was concerned he'd accepted the role of the cultural icon too early in his career to truly to justice to the part - but his fears were eased when Ali, who now suffers from Parkinson's Disease called to offer him some words of encouragement. Smith reveals, "I felt that I shouldn't be doing this - it did seem too huge a task, but his family personally asked me. "A lot of people were saying 'Don't go near it,' and I was about to turn it down. "Then Muhammad called me himself. He said, 'You are almost pretty enough to play me.' He told me that his family were involved in the script and that he wanted to be a tribute to his life. "That conversation took a lot of pressure away from me.
Even my actress wife JADA PINKETT was wondering whether this was the right thing to do, but once she knew Ali called that was it!" (CPT/NO/PDD)