A new movie about legendary boxer Roberto Duran is hitting theaters August 26. It’s called “Hands of Stone” and stars Edgar Ramirez as Duran and Usher Raymond IV (Yes, that Usher) as Sugar Ray Leonard. Both stars had a chance to sit down with Laila Muhammad and talk about their roles.
Tell us how you both, physically and mentally, got into these characters.
It was a very transformative process for both of us. There’s no way to access the state of mind and the soul of a boxer without becoming one. We had over a year of preparation and, of course, we had the blessing and the supervision of the champs.
Ultimately, you want to have a well-rounded script. It starts with that and also two actors who can carry it out. Bob DeNiro, Edgar Ramirez… I mean there are shining stars across the board. And it’s just an amazing piece that’s not just a boxing piece. I really felt like for Latinos all over the world – they’ll look at this…for Duran…to be the heroic figure that he has been for the boxing industry. But it also, too, tells a realistic story of humble beginnings and what the reality of that ascent is.
Roberto Durant, he owns his playfulness, I think, that sets him apart from other great boxers. There’s an urge to always smile and to be happy, to try and escape, to escape from sadness. Always trying to put a good face to the world.
I did a song with Ruben Blades for this film called “Champions.” It’s an amazing one – the lead track for it. Just, you know, you have “Eye of the Tiger” with “Rocky,” you got “Champions” for “Hands of Stone.”
“Hands of Stone” premiers August 26, 2016 in theaters nationwide.