Will Smith Finally Signs On For Ali Role

Despite the less than stellar returns of "Wild Wild West," rapper-actor Will Smith will draw a $20 million paycheck for starring in the upcoming Muhammad Ali bioflick being directed by Michael Mann and produced by Jon Peters for Columbia Pictures.

"Variety" reports that Smith has finally signed on to star as the three-time world heavyweight champion currently suffering from Parkinson's Disease, and that Smith has already begun weight training for the role.

The former Fresh Prince was originally offered the Ali project back in 1998, and talks heated up again last summer (see "Will Smith Preparing Next Album; Ali Biopic In Works"), but Smith eventually opted to shoot "The Legend Of Bagger Vance" instead with director Robert Redford and co-stars Matt Damon, Charlize Theron, and Jack Lemmon.

In other deals, Smith is also in talks to possibly re-team with Tommy Lee Jones and director Barry Sonnenfeld for

a sequel to 1997's box office smash "Men In Black," a film that Robert Gordon ("Galaxy Quest") is presently scripting for Columbia.

"The Legend Of Bagger Vance" is scheduled to be released to theaters on August 4.