14 Jun – American popstar Usher will take on the role of boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard in an upcoming biopic "Hands of Stone", revolving around the true life of Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran, who will be played by Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal. Robert De Niro will also cast alongside the stars as iconic trainer Ray Arcel.
When asked about the casting for the film which would also feature Robert De Niro, Usher said, "It was proper casting. I was selected. They approached me to do it. And all I had to do was to consider it."
The 33-year-old singer has been pretty adamant in putting his best to portray Sugar Ray with hopes of landing an Academy Award.
When asked whether he feels intimidated by his co-stars, Usher casually said, "Not at all. Not at all. There's a respect for both parties. ... I'm not intimidated in any way. Because there's a shared passion and respect among all of us, and it's the type of script that will allow all of us to shine."
On hoping to walk away with an Oscar for the role, Usher cites Jennifer Hudson's Academy Award-winning turn in "Dreamgirls", "I've seen Oscar winners come out of left field. ... I'm just saying Jennifer Hudson (won an Oscar). ... I'm going into it offering my interpretation and my hard work and my dedication to be the best Sugar Ray ever. Or as good as the man can be. I've spoken to him, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to live up to him. But I'll try to be better than him."
A release date for "Hands Of Stone" in Malaysia and Singapore is yet to be confirmed at time of publication, but is expected for a late 2013 appearance.