When Marvel’s “Black Panther” released in February, several actors quickly became household names. Perhaps the actor who received the largest rise in popularity is Winston Duke. Duke, who played M’Baku, proved to be an extremely charismatic actor. His authenticity off the screen has catapulted him to fame. He even showed up in “Avengers: Infinity War” this summer. With Duke riding a career high, he’s using that capital get another great role set up.
According to Deadline, Duke is going to play the famed MMA fighter Kimbo Slice. The film, to be titled “Backyard Legend,” will follow Slice on his rise from homelessness, to MMA fighting in backyards. Slice eventually became an MMA superstar after a promising start. However, after losing a fight, his career derailed and the sensation wanned. He continued to fight, but he never transcended the sport again. Slice won his last fight in February of 2016 before dying suddenly from a heart attack at the age of 42 in June.
Clearly, there are a lot of stories to tell about the MMA superstar. The film is being written by “White Boy Rick” screenwriter Andy Weiss. Duke will executive produce the film, as will Michael Imber, Kimbo’s friend, and manager. Steve Jones Lee’s Bee Holder Productions and Michael J. Weiss’s Webros Entertainment will produce. Duke’s next project will be headlining “Us” from director Jordan Peele, so expect his star to continue to climb. This biopic has the potential to be a big hit. Slice and his legend are large stories to tell. This may even find its way into the awards conversation in 2019.