Hands of Stone reviews have been coming in and many have been commending Usher?s portrayal of Sugar Ray Leonard. In a recent interview, director Jonathan Jakubowicz explained how the R&B superstar bagged his biggest movie role to date.
The dramatic film stars Edgar Ramirez as boxer Roberto Duran and Robert De Niro as Duran’s trainer, Ray Arcel. Jakubowicz was initially frustrated while searching for an actor who could play Leonard. He then asked for a recommendation from Wild Card Boxing owner Freddie Roach.
The trainer of boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao supposedly told him that the legendary boxer?s style was too slick. This would make it impossible to cast a boxer who would fight like Leonard.
Jakubowicz then decided that it would be easier to teach a good dancer how to box. That is how he ended up choosing Usher, whom he regards as ?the best dancer in the world.?
The Grammy-winning artist himself also explained how having rhythm helped him box well enough to portray Leonard. ?It’s all about the rhythm,” Usher said while methodically pounding a leather punching bag. “You have to listen to it.”
The Hands of Stone review from USA Today also shared that Usher was able to quickly learn Leonard?s footwork. The ?You Make Me Wanna? crooner also personified the boxer?s famous smile and showman style.
Jakubowicz also admitted that Usher?s musical rivals consider him as a ?pretty boy who is too soft, not ‘street’ enough.? However, the filmmaker pointed out that other boxers also used to say the same things about Leonard.
The former coach of The Voice also reportedly impressed Leonard himself during their first workout for Hands of Stone.
“I did a couple of moves in the ring with my feet and he mimicked me right back,” the 60-year-old athlete said. “Being an incredible dancer helps. But from jumping rope to hitting the bag, he was more natural than most. And he followed through like a soldier.”
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