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Crime News Movies & TV

Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Don Cheadle Join the Cast of Peacock's Upcoming Series Fight Night: The Million Dollar Heist

The limited series from Peacock recreates the mysterious big-money robbery that happened in the shadow of Muhammad Ali's historic comeback. 

By Grace Jidoun
Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson attend an event together

Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson and Don Cheadle are set to join Kevin Hart in the cast of Fight Night: The Million Dollar Heist. The upcoming limited series from Peacock follows a terrifying and bizarre mass robbery that took place during the weekend of Muhammad Ali’s historic comeback fight in 1970 after three years away from the ring.

In Fight Night, Howard is taking on the role of real-life New Jersey gangster Richard “Cadillac” Wheeler, who was an associate of a mysterious ‘70s Harlem drug ring known as the Council of 12. No stranger to challenging roles, Howard received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in Hustle & Flow, where he played a Memphis criminal-turned-rapper. He’s also known for starring roles in Empire State and The Best Man: The Final Chapters.

Hart will portray Chicken Man, a hustler trying to level up, while Henson, a multi-Academy Award-nominated, Emmy-nominated, and Golden Globe-winning actress, filmmaker and activist known for her roles in films including The Color Purple and Hidden Figures, will take on the role of Vivian Thomas, a savvy businesswoman and mistress to Chicken Man.

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The Academy Award-nominated, Emmy-nominated and Golden Globe-winning Cheadle (Miles Ahead, Avengers franchise) plays the role of JD Hudson, one of the first Black detectives to serve in the Atlanta police department who had been assigned to both Ali's security detail, then to the robbery investigation itself.

What was the real-life “Million Dollar Heist?”

The elaborate big-money heist — which occurred at a fight “after-party” — was one of the most daring robberies Atlanta had ever seen and involved a criminal underground that stretched from Georgia's capital to New York. The crime drew international media attention and introduced the world to the city dubbed “The Black Mecca.” The series — which has no release date yet — zeros in on the hustler at the center of it all and the cop in charge of solving it, one of the first Black detectives on Atlanta’s police force.

Who else stars in Fight Night: The Million Dollar Heist?

Don Cheadle wears a grey suit and glasses on the red carpet at Marvel Studios' "Secret Invasion" launch

Howard, Henson and Cheadle will star opposite Hart, who is executive producing Fight Night alongside Emmy-nominated producer Will Packer. Legendary actor Samuel L. Jackson rounds out the main cast.

Fight Night is a departure for Hart, who is best known for his comedy. He debuted his stand-up special Kevin Hart: Reality Check on Peacock last year and hosts the popular, unfiltered talk show Hart to Heart. He also produces Celebrity Prank Wars and Celebrity Game Face for NBCUniversal and famously joined forces with Snoop Dogg on Olympic Highlights to recap the Olympics in hilariously epic style. Meanwhile, Packer’s most recent film, Praise This, starring Chlöe Bailey, is a charming musical that has earned accolades from critics; it is currently available to stream on Peacock.

Fight Night was created and written by Shaye Ogbonna (Penguin, The Chi, God’s Country), who took inspiration from the acclaimed true crime podcast “Fight Night: The Million Dollar Heist” from iHeartPodcasts. Ogbonna and Jason Horwitch (Echo 3, The Calling) will both serve as showrunners and executive producers.

Also executive producing is Sabrina Wind for Will Packer Media; Bryan Smiley and Mike Stein for Hartbeat; Conal Byrne, Will Pearson and Carrie Lieberman for iHeartPodcasts; as well as Jeff Keating  for Doghouse Pictures, and Lars Jacobson.

Craig Brewer (Empire, Dolemite Is My Name) will direct the first two episodes, as well as executive produce the series. And Tiffany Brown, from Hartbeat, and Kenny Burns will serve as co-executive producers. 

The series comes from Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group.

The strange events around the heavyweight fight on October 26, 1970 have long fascinated the public. With such creative powerhouses on board, the series promises to bring one of Atlanta’s most infamous crimes to life in fascinating ways.

Originally published Jan 31, 2024.

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