General News

"Ali" premieres in London

By:
Dec 12, 2001 | 11:26am EST

Boxers, movie stars and royalty socialized at the gala premiere of Michael Mann's Muhammad Ali biopic Ali Tuesday, at London's Leicester Square.

Star Will Smith and director Mann met with Prince Charles, who showed up minutes before the film began. Smith told the Prince of Wales that he had spent six hours a day training and sparring for the role. The talented actor is already being touted as an Oscar contender for portraying the legendary heavyweight.

Smith was gracious and signed autographs for the thousands of screaming fans who braved the cold to catch a glimpse of the charismatic star.

The Greatest himself, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, was to attend the premiere but had to cancel last minute due to ill health.

Others guests included heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis, co-stars Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight, Mario Van Peebles and former British title holder Henry Cooper, who hosted the event.

At the same time, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment and Yahoo! Auctions have announced the Ali Movie Memorabilia Auction, offering exclusive items from the motion picture, including a '67 Mercedes 300 SE Convertible, four 2000 Royal Enfield motorcycles and boxing gloves worn by Will Smith. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Muhammad Ali Center, which "promotes respect, hope and understanding and inspires adults and children everywhere to be as great as they can be."

Ali opens in theaters Dec. 25.

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