Muhammad Ali’s struggles with the US government for refusing to serve in Vietnam will be depicted in a planned film from Searchlight .

Searchlight has announced plans to develop a feature film focusing on legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, and his refusal to take part in the Vietnam War, according to Variety.

Ali won the heavyweight world championship at the tender age of 22, defeating Sonny Liston in 1964. Two years later, upon hearing that he had been drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, he famously said “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Viet Cong” and refused to be enlisted.

Ali was sentenced to five years in prison, fined and banned from boxing. The decision was later overturned by the Supreme Court seven years later.

Ali, who died in 2016, has been depicted on film before, most notably by Will Smith in the 2001 biopic, Ali, and in the soon to be released One Night In Miami, directed by Regina King (which will arrive on Amazon Video next month). Michael Mann’s Ali did deal with roughly the same era of the fighter’s life that the planned Searchlight film is covering. The new film will be reportedly based on Leigh Monteville’s book, Sting Like A Bee: Muhammad Ali vs. The United States of America, which also focuses on the wider cultural impact of Ali’s decisions.

Shora Amoo, who directed The Last Tree, will helm the film from a script by Philip Howze who wrote Mindhunter. We’ll bring you more news on this one as we hear it.

Image: Ira Rosenberg

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