In Hands of Stone, Usher will play Sugar Ray Leonard in the upcoming film centered around Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán. He will star alongside Robert De Niro and Gael García Bernal.
Usher told the BBC in March that he had been spending a lot of time in London preparing for the role and is now discussing the possibility of becoming an Academy Award winner.
“It was proper casting. I was selected. They approached me to do it. And all I had to [do] was consider it,” he told the UK’s Independent.
The newspaper reports:
“I’m just saying Jennifer Hudson,” comes his reply (it’s not a denial), by which he means: Hudson, an American Idol runner-up, won an Oscar for her first-ever film role, in Dreamgirls. “I’m not even saying…” he begins. “You asked me, is it OK to assume that an actor who doesn’t have as much skill can’t out-act an actor who is well-decorated? And what I’m saying is, if you take a moment to just analyse… No… I’m not intimidated in any way. Because there’s a shared passion and respect among all of us, and it’s the type of script that will allow all of us to shine. [...] I don’t know if this is the one that would win me an Oscar or not. I‘m going into it offering my interpretation and my hard work and my dedication to be the best Sugar Ray ever. Or as good as the man can be. I’ve spoken to him, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to live up to him. But I’ll try to be better than him.”
Usher is currently promoting his seventh studio album Looking 4 Myself, in stores today.