Usher is returning to the big screen in a major capacity as he is set to star as boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard in the upcoming film Hands of Stone. Now that the film is gearing up to premiere in theaters soon, we have an exclusive first look at Usher's performance, and just who helped him prepare for what looks like the role of a lifetime.
"Sugar Ray Leonard is, like, the fastest mover in the ring, ever, and his style is so unique, so I really had to do a lot of training in that area," he said. "I mean, a lot."
Training, for Usher, couldn't be half bad as he got the man, himself, to teach him the ins and outs of what it's like to be the boxing icon. As a matter of fact, the film's writer and director, Jonathan Jakubowicz, said Leonard specifically picked Usher to portray him for one particular reason: his smile.
"The work that I did with Sugar Ray Leonard helped me understand the nuances and the small details of what he did in the ring, and understand how to move around and his body posture," Usher said. "He never blinked. This guy never blinks in the ring. He would just be fixed on you the entire time and he would never miss a beat."
Speaking on just why he was proud to take the role, he gushed about why Leonard is an American hero in his own right.
"Sugar Ray Leonard was an American icon," he said. "Someone who represented so much hope for African-American people. When you saw Sugar Ray Leonard, you knew that you could do it all. You could be recognized, celebrated and still be tough at the same time with class.
Hands of Stone hits theaters on August 26.
Watch Usher explain more on the huge role in the video, above.
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(Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)