Empire star Terrence Howard has been cast opposite Kevin Hart and Samuel L. Jackson in Fight Night: The Million Dollar Heist, the upcoming Peacock limited series based around Muhammad Ali’s iconic 1970 comeback fight in Atlanta.
As reported by Deadline, Howard will star in a series regular role as Richard “Cadillac” Wheeler, a gangster and associate of the Council of 12.
Based on the popular iHeart true crime podcast from Jeff Keating and Jim Roberts, Fight Night tells the infamous story of how an armed robbery during the night of Ali’s 1970 comeback fight changed not only one man’s life but an entire city’s destiny.
It focuses on the hustler at the center of the robbery and the detective, one of the first Black Atlanta police officers to rise to that rank, tasked with solving the crime.
Howard’s casting marks a reunion with Craig Brewer, who will direct and executive produce the first two episodes of the series. The pair previously collaborated on the 2005 film Hustle & Flow, which earned Howard an Oscar nomination, and on Fox’s Empire, on which Brewer served as director-producer.
Most recently, Howard played Quentin Spivey in the Peacock comedy-drama The Best Man: The Final Chapters, a sequel to the 2013 comedy film The Best Man: Holiday. The series premiered on December 22, 2022, and also starred Morris Chestnut, Melissa De Sousa, Taye Diggs, and Regina Hall.
Howard’s casting in Fight Night comes after the actor teased retirement in December 2022.
“This is the end for me,” he told Entertainment Tonight regarding his role in The Best Man. “This is the end for me… I don’t know if it’s the end for the rest of them [his co-stars].”
He’d previously retired in 2019, which he spoke about with ET, saying, “I retired two years ago, for the most part. I was done. I asked Sidney Poitier 10 years ago does he want to do any more work, and he said, ‘Why would I spend my last 10 years doing an impersonation of myself?’ And that’s what I’ve gotten to.”
Fight Night was created by Shaye Ogbonna (The Chi), who will serve as showrunner alongside Jason Horwitch (The Calling). It is produced by Universal Television, Will Packer Media (which also produced the podcast), and Doghouse Pictures.
Ogbonna and Horwitch will exec produce Fight Night with Hart, Bryan Smiley, and Mike Stein for Hartbeat; Packer and Sabrina Wind for Will Packer Media; Conal Byrne, Will Pearson and Carrie Lieberman for iHeartPodcasts; and Brewer, Keating and Lars Jacobson. Hartbeat’s Tiffany Brown and Studio 43’s Kenny Burns are co-exec producers.
Fight Night: The Million Dollar Heist, TBA, Peacock