Date: 18th June 2001
The film biopic of boxing legend MUHAMMAD ALI has come under fire over its mistreatment of hundreds of extras during filming in Mozambique.
Extras who were promised food, drink and the chance to win prizes such as televisions, fridges and stereos if they turned up for a recreation of the 1974 RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE clash between Ali and GEORGE FOREMAN in Zaire were reportedly only given a bottle of water.
One of the extras, 46-year-old MADALENA MUNTIMUCU, says, "We were hungry and tired. It was a dirty trick to play on people who struggle to survive. "
But COLUMBIA PICTURES, which is spending $100 million (£75 million) on the flick starring WILL SMITH as Ali, denied the accusations - saying nothing was promised.
Spokesman BLAISE NOTO says, "It was clearly said to people to come and see a movie being made. There was a raffle of motor scooters, refrigerators, athletics shoes, clothing. Provisions were made for food. "
A spokeswoman for MEN IN BLACK (1997) star Will Smith added, "We think this is a very disturbing situation but Will didn't know about it. " (MCM/WNWCFU)