While Khris Davis shares the height and some of the same boyish features as Foreman, that’s where the resemblance pretty much ends. Davis also didn’t know how to box, although he played a boxer in a play called “The Royale” at Lincoln Center. Fight coordinator Darrell Foster first taught him the sport and then trained him to copy Foreman’s specific moves and techniques himself, with Davis studying each of Foreman’s fights.
In the film’s first half, which charts Foreman’s rise from a poverty-stricken childhood to mowing down Joe Frazier and winning the world heavyweight title, Davis looks as sculpted and formidable as the intimidating Foreman of the era. But after losing the crown to Muhammed Ali in 1974 and ending his career entirely after nearly dying in 1977, Foreman has stopped exercising and is beginning to gain weight – as has Davis, who used an eight-week break from filming to transform again.
“In the second half of the film, I gained 50 pounds in five weeks,” he recalls. “I went from 225 to 275 on a 7,000 calorie diet. The heaviest I got was 282.” (The process was overseen by a nutritionist.)
While Davis devoted himself to portraying Foreman’s physical transformations, the actor was just as important to documenting his personal and spiritual growth, and in the end, no one was more impressed than the real Foreman himself. “People ask me, ‘Who is George Foreman ?’” the boxing legend told Looper. “I tell them, ‘Khris Davis.’ He brought this character to life.”
Big George Foreman hits theaters on Friday, April 28th.
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