But I Want It That Way – How A Star Can Flip The Script

A Movie Can Be Re-Defined By Its Cast
By now, you’ve probably seen a few movies that have changed considerably from script to screen. Many times this is due to an actor or actress’ influence, such as the southern drawl and the unforgettable bunny incorporated into Con Air by Nicolas Cage. Perhaps the originally male protagonist in Salt being altered to accommodate the lovely Angelina Jolie slipped under your radar; the equally articulate espionage expert Edwin Salt (originally to be played by Tom Cruise) became Evelyn Salt to shoe-in Jolie as the lead. There seems to be a trend here: scripts are like clay, and the extremely famous are like the modern day Donatellos, waltzing in and pressing the malleable material into what they see fit.

Sometimes, It Just Happens Naturally
When an unanticipated performer joins the cast, sometimes things just tend to bend around them so that they can enjoy the usual spotlight that follows. Any action movie you throw Bruce Willis into is likely to feel at least a little Die Hard-esque. Likewise, if we cast Vin Diesel in a light-hearted family movie (The Pacifier, anyone?) we can expect that the already action including script will become at least a tad more action packed. A-list celebrities have a tendency to carry a persona with them throughout their filmography, so it makes sense that the characteristics of that persona would undoubtedly shine through in a similar-natural role.

They’ve Been There, They’ve Done That
Many times an actor or actress will approach the director and/or screenwriters with an idea that, from their experience, seemingly fits the scheme of the story. In these scenarios, it makes sense that a writer would at least entertain their suggestion, and in many cases it ends up being a welcome addition to the film. Sometimes though actors just wing it. For instance, the famous “Here’s Johhny!” line from Stephen King’s The Shining. Ironically, this phrase which gave plenty of 80’s children (and adults) the heebie jeebies was hearkened to the introduction given to the harmless Johhny Carson by Ed McMahon. This proves that some stars’ spur of the moment ideas can be not only comedic (or terrifying) but also legendary.

Tragedy Strikes
Sometimes things are cut short or altered due to something horrible, with varying degrees of results. Take a look at the Paul Walker situation, for example, a brilliant young man who’d been part of the Fast and Furious since the jump lost his life during the final part of filming for one of the franchise’s movies,and a last minute decision was made to use the ending sequence of the film as a tribute to him, using his brother as a stand-in (with some killer post-production editing) to give fans one final look at the amazing front-man of the series. Another prime example is Heath Ledger’s post Dark Knight death resulting in the film he was currently working on, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, needing some creative efforts to be finished. Due to the scope of the story, the remaining scenes were of an imaginative sort, meaning contributions by Johnny Depp, Colin Farrel, and Jude Law were worked in rather flawlessly considering the situation at hand. On a less tragic note, who could forget the iconic scene from Raiders Of The Lost Ark, in which a food poisoned Harrison Ford and a conundrum facing Spielberg came to an agreement which led to Indy simply drawing his trust revolver and gunning down his foe rather than participating in a flashy whip versus sword duel.

Stars Can Change Everything
Obviously, stars can have a profound impact on a movie’s script, sometimes altering or throwing out pieces entirely to fit their needs. It’s amazing to take a look at how many blockbuster movies changed course during production to account for either the circumstances or requests of a movie star. Truthfully though, so many of the iconic scenes which we’ll never forget were fostered by this process of creative license, and many of the movies we love would be completely different if it weren’t for these changes.

Top 5 Well-Known Movie Stars Who Resurrected Their Careers

Many movie stars pride themselves on being talented for one simple reason: Their success will be directly related to their talents. But many times their success will also depend on the movies they decided to star in, and their social behavior. However, many actors who had appeared in more than their share of unsuccessful movies, or had some troubles in their lives, were able to make huge comebacks.

Here’s a list of the top 5 well-known movie stars who were able to resurrect their careers despite their shortcomings:

Movie Star Career Resurrection #5: Marlon Brando

In the year 1950, when Brando was filming The Men, he became known as the actor who knew how to bring realism to the screen. From here on, Brando appeared in several movies. But despite many Academy Award nominations for his performances, Brando’s fame began to disappear in the 1960s.

The problem was that none of the movies he appeared during the 1960s were major hits. As the years went by, Brando became less known to the public. However, when he accepted to play the role of Vito Corleone in The Godfather, Brando was able to turned his acting career around. And on March 24, 1972, with the released of The Godfather, Brando re-established himself as an actor and was able to land more important roles, such as Superman.

Movie Star Career Resurrection #4: John Travolta

Whether he’s starring in musical romantic comedy films or in romantic cowboy movies, John Travolta takes on each of his roles with such dedication. It doesn’t come to a surprise that when his fans think of him, they think of Danny Zuko and his romance with Sandy, not as an ignorant or arrogant actor. But rumor has it that Travolta turned down important lead roles in the 80s because he thought he could do better.

John didn’t do any better after turning down the lead role of An Officer and a Gentleman. After he finished shooting Urban Legend in 1989, his acting career declined. Also, financial failures kept him away from his acting career.

In the 90s, Travolta managed to appear in movies such as Who’s Talking, Look Who’s Talking Too, and Look Who’s Talking Now. Although the public was still interested in him, Travolta still needed a good role.

In 1994, he was able to resurrect his acting career after he landed the role of Vincent Vega in Quentin Tarantino’s hit Pulp Fiction. The role of Vincent earned him an Academy Award nomination, and many job offers after that.

Movie Star Career Resurrection #3: Mickey Rourke

It seems that turning down lead roles is a common habit among many actors in Hollywood, but Mickey Rourke is the worst offender. Rourke turned down many lead roles because he thought that he could do better as a boxer, or because he thought that many movie directors will always wait for him. He even went as far as turning down a job offer from Tarantino.

In 1994, when he finally decided to give up his career as a boxer, the actor spent the rest of the 90s appearing in several movies. Unfortunately, some of the roles he played were not leading roles. Although his acting career didn’t decline much in the 90s, in 2005, he made a huge comeback in Hollywood by accepting to appear in the movie Sin City. Since then, Rourke has appeared in successful films such as The WrestlerIron Man 2, and The Expendables.

Movie Star Career Resurrection #2: Robert John Downey Jr.

This list wouldn’t be complete without him. Downey is the perfect example of an actor who had a great career start but decided that partying and doing drugs was more important than appearing in movies.

Downey was arrested numerous times on drug-related charges and for possession of an unloaded gun. Fortunately, after five years of substance abuse, arrests, rehab, and relapse, the actor was able to beat his drug addiction problems. He made a comeback in the 2000s and appeared in the film Gothika. After Gothika, it became a bit of a slow time again for Robert, that is, until films such as Sherlock Holmes and of course the Iron Man franchise, propelled him back in the spotlight once and for all.

Movie Star Career Resurrection #1: Christopher Lee

If starring as Dracula in a series of horror films didn’t earn Lee great reviews, as an actor he would be in big trouble. However, Lee’s troubles didn’t begin until he appeared in a Disney movie.

In 1978, Lee was severely criticized for appearing in the Disney film Return from Witch Mountain. Movie critics didn’t think that appearing in Disney films was the right move for Lee. However, by accepting to play the role of Saruman in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001–2003) and The Hobbit film trilogy (2012–2014), Lee was able to shut down the critics and became known as the famous actor who had appeared in several cult movies.

After reading this short list, we hope that you’ve come to the conclusion that being an actor isn’t an easy job. They’ve to be willing to tolerate and deal with criticism. And just because many of them decided to turn down famous movie roles, it didn’t necessarily mean that their careers were over.

Steven Spielberg vs. Alfred Hitchcock: The Battle of the Titans

When you’re comparing the works of Steven Spielberg and Alfred Hitchcock, everyone wants to know who’s the better director and why. There are a lot of film buffs out there, and they’ve seen all of their work on movies and TV. This, of course, isn’t a simple question to answer, but if it were simple, it wouldn’t be worth asking. Both have made many film fans happy with their contributions to the film world and have made classics that have been watched over and over again. They’ve been analyzed in film classes and heated debates have been had about who really is better.

If I was forced to pick someone and I had to pick someone, I’d go with Steven Spielberg, and the reason is because he has made, in my view, more diverse films than Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock was known as the master of suspense and for the most part, a good majority of his films were suspenseful and he was the master of it. No one did it any better. He knew how to keep his audience interested in the story and he always kept you guessing all the way until the end.

People are still discussing Psycho and the shower scene. Films like Rope and Strangers on a Train are shown in film classes across the country. As far as his style and the way he made his films, very few, if any, could compare to him and the work that he did in the film community. However, very rarely, if ever, did he go away from that style and working in suspense films. He had his niche and he did it very well and no one did it any better arguably. However, he never dabbled in other genres of films. He earned the name “The Master of Suspense” for a reason.

Spielberg, on the other hand, he could do a little bit of everything. He could make you cry with films like E.T. and he could show you the horror of war in Saving Private Ryan. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that he directed Lincoln and tackled the subject of one of the most famous presidents of all time. When it comes to film projects, there is not anything he can not do. That’s not to say that Hitchcock couldn’t have done other types of films if he tried, but there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of interest in trying on his part. He was comfortable in his genre and stuck with it.

The truly great, great directors never get satisfied and they never get comfortable. They’re always looking for ways to expand their resume and try their hand in something that might be a little scary for them and might be a little foreign to them, but they know it’s only going to make them a better director and a better person. While I know we’re speaking in terms of their directorial abilities, it’s hard to ignore everything that went on behind the scenes with Hitchcock.

There was a film released that showed him working on Psycho and there have been numerous stories about the man being difficult and hard to please. He would even oftentimes hit on some of his actresses. He might have been a very talented director and there is no denying that, but as a person, he didn’t always live up to those same standards. In the end, that counts for something. With Steven Spielberg, it is rare that you ever hear a bad word spoken about the man. People love working with him and they love what he brings out of them as a director. He’s just as good of a person as he is a director.

The big thing that must be taken into consideration is the fact that Spielberg is not done. Sadly, Hitchcock is not with us anymore, so his film work is done. He’ll, sadly, never direct another movie again. The possibilities for Spielberg in the future are, quite frankly, endless. He already has a few projects in the works that are getting people talking and have them very, very excited. He hasn’t lost that zest for making films and it does not appear to be going anyway any time in the near future.

Again, this is a battle of the titans, and it can be argued for days on end, but thanks to the diversity of Spielberg’s films, how he handles his actors and his personality, and the fact that he has more to give to the film world, I give the victory to Spielberg. It wasn’t an easy choice to make, but I’m fairly confident in my decision. However, Hitchcock will always be a legend and no one can take that away from him.

Is Today’s Hollywood Out of Touch with Audiences?

Hollywood has lost touch with the common man. The standard of beauty and success portrayed are not the societal norm. Today’s television shows and movies are generally unrelatable and most Hollywood professionals don’t understand the struggles of life for the majority of society.

Nowhere is that more obvious than looking at the course of history of the reality show. Originally, a reality show was just that…Reality or at least a much closer version of reality than we see in shows today. Survivor brought a naked Richard hatch into our living rooms, with every wrinkle and flabby part exposed. Real world had us cheering for Pedro and booing at Puck. Our love for Pedro brought homosexuality and living with HIV to the forefront, and initiated social change. All of these characters had reality in common. True Reality that every human could relate to. These shows were edited, certainly, but although shown in their best light, these were all real people living their lives.

Over time Hollywood has put their own spin on “reality,” creating scripted and otherwise altered realities on their shows. It is difficult to find a character on a reality show that couldn’t also work as a model or isn’t some kind of a social “freak”. Our curiosity of those different than ourselves has created a whole world of reality shows spotlighting the outliers of society. While entertaining to some, these shows are hardly relatable and are just the equivalent of a modern freak show.

It is also hard for the average joe to relate to the level of wealth portrayed on these shows. These are not people that are dealing with everyday issues. The rent is always paid in their world of “reality”. Financial problems are the number one thing keeping Americans up at night, however shows rarely show the audience the reality of financial struggles or the effects of those struggles. Even in shows that portray the “average” family, there never seems to be much talk of finances. Gone are the days of Roseanne and Dan figuring out how to make it all work and taking second jobs. Now, if you want to hear about financial stuggles you will have to tune in to Breaking Bad, because the conception is that only the fringes of society have financial struggles.

The level of notoriety that can be achieved in Hollywood quickly affects those working in the industry. Writers, producers, actors, and other Hollywood professionals lose touch with the realities of everyday life as they achieve success in the industry. Fame means something different now than it did in the days before the internet and being world famous is much more attainable than ever before. Many people have been unknown to all but their friends and families one day, to suddenly become an internet sensation the next day. The fast rise to fame gives people an unrealistic outlook on life. If they are unable to relate to the common man, they will not be able to create relatable characters or portray them onscreen.

Hollywood has lost touch with viewers for many reasons. The constant push for reality to fit the Hollywood mold has made most shows and movies unrelatable to viewers. Most Hollywood insiders are so out of touch with “normal” people that their view of society is skewed. It is hard to portray reality when you have no idea what the common reality is. If Hollywood wants to get the attention of viewers they are going to have to give them more than superheroes and love stories.

John Cena Really Can Act

John Cena may have shocked some when he appeared on the big screen, but is it really a shocker though? He does extremely well with every role he plays. Even though he has a past in WWE, the roles he takes on for each movie suit who he was in wrestling. He usually will play the “tough guy”, or “someone you just don’t mess with.” That sounds like the same guy right? There was a lot that built up to that moment in ‘Marine’. He climbed the ladder from the bottom with guest appearances and taking acting classes. His hard work has brought him out of the ring and onto the red carpet.

Since his debut starring in the movie “The Marine“, he has played in more than a handful of movies. He’s still the “tough guy” in every role that he plays, but it works for him. Cena is a dedicated, passionate person who puts his heart into everything he does and is a very well-rounded person. He has also ventured outside of the action movie genre and entered a more comical genre.

Recently, he played a boyfriend in the movie “Train Wreck” as well as a drug dealer in the movie “Sisters.” He voices that he actually prefers the comedy genre over the action genre. John is a jack of all trades. When he gets a role, he puts his whole heart into it and performs with excellence.

Cena has also stated that expanding his horizon of work will help bring in a lot of positives as well as that his acting in different movies will help draw attention to WWE. That’s very true. I mean, who doesn’t know John Cena at this point?

Little do many people know, Cena has also appeared in reality TV. He took a break from WWE to be in “American Grit”, which he was very excited about. He hosted the reality show for two seasons. He also made a guest appearance in the comical show “Parks and Recreation”. Making guest appearances and appearing on TV shows can definitely prepare you for the big screen. He has worked his way up and gained much knowledge along the way.

While prepping for movies and TV, John has had a life coach with him every step of the way for constant encouragement and advice. He only took a month and a half of acting lessons before taking the starring role in The Marine. It takes most people years of acting lessons, but with John’s background in wrestling ( as wrestlers do have to cut promos) and determination, he excelled with the time he had.

John has quoted he’ll never quit WWE, even though he’s becoming more of a part-timer. He may have surprised a lot of people by turning to this career choice, but it seems that hasn’t failed at a role yet. John takes his work seriously and knows what his strengths and weaknesses are. It may have taken a while to shake off the silliness of the idea that the famous John Cena can act without having a wrestler role, but his hard work and catchy charm has led him to be a serious actor. I know we’ll be seeing him more and more and in more diverse roles as well.

Top 3 Movie Flops So Far in 2016

So far, 2016 has been a year of major wins at the box office, but it has seen its share of disasters as well. With that said, that’s dive right into the top 3 box office movie flops of 2016:

Movie Flop #3. GODS OF EGYPT

Directed by Alex Proyas (I, Robot) and starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) and Gerard Butler (300),Gods of Egypt was intended by Lion’s Gate to be the first installment of another big budget fantasy action-adventure series like their previous hits, Twilight and The Hunger Games.

Even before its release, Gods of Egypt was plagued by controversy over the casting of white actors in Egyptian roles which spawned a sizable Twitter campaign. Its release date was poorly timed to compete with the massively successful Deadpool, and ended up only making back 10% of its $140 million dollar budget on opening weekend. Critics also cited a lackluster cast, wooden acting, and sub-par special effects as reasons for this film’s downfall.


An action-comedy starring Sasha Baron Cohen as a British soccer hooligan and Mark Strong as his secret agent brother, The Brothers Grimsby seemed doomed from the start. After the failure of Ali G Indahouse and the somewhat disappointing returns of The Dictator, it is surprising that a major studio was willing to gamble on another scripted Sacha Baron Cohen comedy film. Though he has had great success with his signature style of outrageous in-character bits involving unsuspecting people (as seen in Borat and Bruno), Sacha Baron Cohen has never been known as a bankable comedic actor in conventional narrative-driven films. With Borat more than a decade behind him, his stardom has dimmed considerably since his heyday, with each of his starring vehicles seeing diminishing returns at the box office.

Similar to Gods of Egypt, The Brothers Grimsby had the ill-fortune to be buried by the runaway success of Deadpool, a film that outdid it in both the action and comedy departments. It also suffered from unimpressive promotion which failed to make it stand out it a crowded field of big name properties.

Movie Flop #1: ZOOLANDER 2

A sequel to the 2001 cult comedy classic, Zoolander 2 brings back Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson in their iconic roles as male models Derek Zoolander and Hansel.

While the original Zoolander was a minor hit upon release which became more popular in its post-theater life due to frequent showings on cable TV, the timing of the sequel was odd and seemingly came out of nowhere. The lapse between the two was too long to capitalize on the original’s popularity while it was still fresh, and it was not long enough for the original Zoolander to have become a significant object of pop-culture nostalgia. In short, this is the sequel that no one asked for. It was met with little interest from moviegoers, while critics blasted it as a tired, pointless rehash of the original.

While some films in 2016 have been record breaking successes, these three fell flat in every way imaginable.

Where’s All The Suspense At?

Do you remember the times when movies had you on the edge of your seat, wondering what could possibly happen next? Today this is a lost art of the past. but why?

Well, we can only speculate as to why, there are a few general theories at hand here and it is perhaps best to go over them.

Lack of inspiration
With so many ideas of past feature film already being used and the taboo in Hollywood of re-creating the same plot line or using the same actors, perhaps Hollywood has simply run out of ideas, with the current storm of movies based on comic books, one may discern that all we have left’s Comic Book movies.

Lack of motivation
With artists and Hollywood writers underpaid and movie theaters losing popularity due to online piracy, ease of access such as ‘same day as theaters’ on cable television OnDemand services, and actors demanding more and more, maybe there is a general lack of motivation to create inspiring films, full of unique characters, plots, plot twists, and schemes/scenes. This is not to doubt, that every once in awhile yet still, a masterful tour de force becomes a forgotten blockbuster.

Lack of compelling actors/actresses
Talent is harder to find, good talent, compelling new actors and actresses that can convey the emotional aspects of their role are perhaps dwindiling, surely there are lots of solid talent, we have all seen them, Chris Pine, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Zachary Quinto, Patrick Stewart, Liam Neeson, Scarlett Johansson, etc…

Lack of Attention
In this modern society, we are becoming hopelessly entwined in our gadgets and social media life, therefore perhaps movies are joining along with books (of which they are often based), on the soon to be extinct list of daily entertainment activities, replaced merely by games (often based on movies), and dating apps, or ‘alternative’ social apps/websites. This all means a general lack of attention to what the little screen (your television) is advertising to you about what is on ‘The Big Screen’ is more often than not, ignored.

We have thus identified the problem, now let’s speculate a solution
Theaters need to just handle a reduction in the overall cost of going to the movies, a good reset to the 80’s theater prices (including popcorn and a drink), furthermore, a strong Hollywood think tank needs to be formed as a consortium to form new ideas and strategies to better lure people into theaters with entirely new and captivatingly unique plots, locations, special effects, and talent. All to add a deep, dark, and intriguing level of Suspense to feature films.

Can Suicide Squad Deliver?

Warner Brothers and DC are off to a rough start. You can still smell the scorched earth left behind in the wake of the outrage that was Batman V Superman. Depending on where you stand, you’re waiting to be disappointed or you’re excited to see these characters portrayed on screen; most of them for the first time. It goes without saying that this movie needs to be successful, but if your view of success is broad, then this movie will be a smash. Will this be the movie that puts DC in the lead? Probably not, and that’s okay.

Director David Ayer is at the helm of DC’s first true ensemble movie, Suicide Squad, which follows a group of criminals tasked with carrying out some of the world’s most dangerous missions. These criminals also happen to be some of Gotham’s finest villains. Fan favorite and sure to steal the show Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), is one part of this group of misfits. Along with her is Deadshot (Will Smith), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) just to name few. Gotham’s two most dysfunctional sons, Batman (Ben Affleck) and Joker (Joker), also make appearances in the movie. The Suicide Squad is formed when head of A.R.G.U.S Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) decides to start sending criminals on suicide missions. You would think they’d decline, but Waller has contingencies for non compliance in the form of explosive chips implanted in their brains. With Batman rounding them up, Joker terrorizing everyone and a powerful and deadly entity loose in the city, these are the times the Suicide Squad was created to let loose upon.

There’s so much debate about who makes better movies, Marvel or DC? The advantage is obviously with Marvel for they’ve been at this for awhile now. When comic book movies weren’t popular, Marvel took a chance and that paved the way for DC to enter into the fray and deliver their own brand of comic book movies based on their characters. Marvel’s shadow stretches far and their lead is even further. The best the Suicide Squad can do is just be a great movie and generate some excitement for what’s to come. Putting these less widely known, but fan favorite villains in an ensemble movie for the first time shows just how far comic book movies have come; and how big and bold Warner Bros and DC are willing to be. Suicide Squad will be a wild ride full of humor, action, Easter eggs, and most likely some questionable decisions. All of this okay and if we all give Warner Bros and DC a chance to unveil their vision, we just may start to see that lead shrink. Round 1 of the Marvel or DC bout is over and while Batman v Superman got some licks in, we can all agree who won this round. Just remember though, it’s only the first round, there’s still 11 more to go.

A Boxing Legend and a World Icon Will Be Missed

With the deaths of several luminaries in the entertainment world, 2016 is shaping up to be a bad year for cultural icons. Three-time world boxing champion Muhammad Ali, who died June 3 at the age of 74, is one such heavyweight, in every sense of the word. Although there have been many inspirational sports figures, few have transcended that realm to become an enduring social and cultural phenomenon that crossed generational, racial, and national boundaries. Ali first came to prominence after he dethroned reigning heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in a 1964 upset, but it was his conversion to Islam – combined with his outspoken and controversial stance on the draft and civil rights – that launched him into prominence outside of the boxing ring and cemented his place as a voice of the national conscience and advocate for the underrepresented and disenfranchised.

Not-So-Humble Beginnings

Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Clay, Jr. in Louisville, Kentucky on January 17, 1942. He was a small, inquisitive child who had a strong sense of fairness that he displayed from an early age. Ali was reported to have had a volatile relationship with his domineering father, which was related by local cop and boxing coach Joseph Martin after taking a report about young Ali’s stolen bike. According to Martin, he was incensed about the loss of his bicycle and concerned about his father’s reaction. Martin then suggested that before he sought revenge he should learn how to box, and he began training at the age of 12.

Ali made his amateur debut in 1954, and won eight Golden Gloves titles, six at the state level and two nationally. His amateur career was capped as a gold medalist in the Light Heavyweight division at the 1960 Rome Olympic games, and he made his professional debut on October 29 of the same year. Despite his impressive 19-0 record over the next 3 1/2 years, he went into his first title fight against Sonny Liston as a cocky, belligerent underdog.

Rise and Fall

Shortly after he took the title from Liston, he rocked the sports world by announcing publicly for the first time his affiliation with the Nation of Islam and his adoption of the name Muhammad Ali. However, other boxers and the media continued to refer to him as Cassius Clay for some time; his opponents used it as an opportunity to psyche him out before fights. His humiliation of Ernie Terrell in the ring during their bout on February 6, 1967, was the last time anyone called him Cassius. After toying with Ernie and inflicting punishment on him round after round, he beat Terrell in a unanimous 15th round decision and then screamed in his face “What’s my name?” His won his final title defense against Zora Folley on March 22 of that year, and then disaster struck.

In 1966, Muhammad Ali got the letter that changed the lives of millions of young American men, but he defied the draft due to his strong religious convictions and opposition to the Vietnam War. He was eventually arrested and found guilty of draft evasion. Due to his conviction, he was stripped of his New York boxing license and boxing titles, and he spent the next four years fighting in court instead of in the ring. His conviction was finally overturned 1971 by the U.S. Supreme Court, and he was officially given conscientious objector status.

Don’t Call It a Comeback

Once he vindicated himself legally, it was time to return to the ring. After a string of highly publicized matches and wins, he was paired with Joe Frazier for the “Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden in 1971, which Ali won in a unanimous decision. They fought each other twice more, including the legendary “Thrilla in Manila” bout in the Philippines in 1975, with Ali winning both fights. He would go on to rack up 31 consecutive wins before his first defeat.

He retired from the sport briefly in 1979, then announced his return to the ring the following year against Larry Holmes after undergoing a physical and being cleared to fight by the NAC. That fight, which took place on October 2, 1980, was a disaster, and it was stopped by his trainer in the 11th round; it was Ali’s only defeat by knockout, and that fight is said to have contributed to his deteriorating health. He retired a final time after a sad display in his last professional fight against Trevor Berbick on December 11, 1981, which he lost after a ten-round decision; he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1984.


His verbal sparring matches with Howard Cosell are the stuff of legend, and his wit, intelligence, and humor were part of an innate charm that won over even his harshest critics eventually. Sports Illustrated named Muhammad Ali the top sportsman of the 20th century, and he remains the only boxer to win the heavyweight title on three separate occasions. First in 1964, and then again after rope-a-doping George Foreman during the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle.” In Las Vegas in 1978, he won the his third title belt, this time from Leon Sphinx.

His final public appearance as an elder statesman of the sporting world occurred on July 19, 1996. Already in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s Disease, he lit the Olympic flame during the opening ceremonies of the 1996 summer games in Atlanta, and it was nothing short of inspirational. The identity of the final torch-bearer was deliberately kept secret from the public, but when Ali emerged – shaking, but stoic and standing tall – he created one of the most memorable Olympic moments of all time.

In Memorial

George Foreman states today that Muhammad Ali was “bigger than boxing, bigger than movie stars; he was something special,” and that to remember him solely as a boxer is an injustice. Bob Arum, who promoted 26 of his fights, stated upon news of his death his belief that Muhammad Ali had more of an influence on race relations than any other public figure of his time. The Reverend Jesse Jackson eulogized Muhammad Ali thus: “He was a champion in the ring, but, more than that, a hero beyond the ring. When champions win, people carry them off the field on their shoulders. When heroes win, people ride on their shoulders. We rode on Muhammad Ali’s shoulders.”

Muhammad Ali is indisputably one of the greatest showman and boxing champions the world has ever seen, and his influence has seeped into every facet of popular culture from politics to rap. Regardless of where you stood on war, religion, or civil rights, you knew he told the truth – always – even while he entertained and provoked you. Gentleman, Statesman, Poet, Champ: Muhammad Ali has left an indelible mark on the Sport of Kings, and on all those who were graced by his presence.

Acting, accents, and awards. Oh My!

Have you ever been watching a movie and the actor or actress on screen just has this atrocious accent? One so bad it takes you out of the movie experience because it’s so off what it should be. Yep, we’ve all been there. You’re watching Robin Hood and hear Kevin Costner talk to Maid Marion and you literally say out loud, “Come on, I’m not expecting Errol Flynn but this is ridiculous!” Let’s not forget the most notorious bad accent of them all, Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. You mention that movie to someone in the UK and they all cringe. For actors and actresses, a truly bad accent can make you infamous and not in a good way. But, if you can do a really good accent people will notice and laud your performance. If you can do multiple accents well…yep, you’re an acting legend, but it’s much harder than it sounds.

When you’re looking at a list of perfectly done accents, Forrest Whitaker has to be on the list for his portrayal of Idi Amin in the Last King of Scotland. Whitaker’s Ugandan accent is perfect and won him an Academy Award. Gwyneth Paltrow nailed a British accent in Shakespeare in Love and won an Academy Award for that. Daniel Day-Lewis was incredible in Gangs of New York with a stellar New York accent, while he didn’t win an award for that role, he has 3 Oscars.

There are some over-achieving actors who can pull off multiple accents like Naomi Watts. She does British, Australian, American, and passable Russian accents. Hugh Jackman does British, Australian, and American accents very well. Then we have the  Queen of accents, Maryl Streep. She’s done British, Italian, Polish, American flawlessly.

If you’re an actor or actress and are reading this, you’re probably wondering how do I replicate this success for my career? The answer is a voice coach. A voice or dialect coach is an acting coach who helps you develop the voice and speech of a character. A dialect coach will give you comments on topics of believability, uniformity, and clarity of your accent. You could consider this an investment in your career because you will expand your ability to qualify for different roles, which means more steady work for you.

In the words of sought-after voice coach Bob Corff, who’s worked with Hollywood stars like Cate Blanchett, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson, and James Franco. “Accents are like juggling,” he explains. “The right pronunciation, words stressed, attitude, and energy all have to sync up and be consistent.” Basically, an accent done right can really benefit your acting career, longevity, and catapult you to award winning stardom.