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Moonlight's Mahershala Ali Wants To Play Marvin Gaye On Screen

Here's why the Motown icon is a 'dream role' for the Oscar nominee

With the Oscars only a couple of weeks away, Mahershala Ali is on the minds of many thanks to his stunning portrayal of Juan in Moonlight. He's floored audiences, taken home awards, and scored a Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the first weeks of the new year, and though he's spent much of his 2017 speaking on his experience playing a compassionate drug dealer in the Best Picture contender, he's very much so looking forward to future projects.

And hopefully, one of them will involve a biopic of a Motown great or a sports legend — and soon.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ali opens up about Moonlight, who he's looking forward to meeting at the Oscars (Denzel Washington, namely: "That's Muhammad Ali for me!"), and what kinds of roles he's eager to tackle in future films. The top of the list involves playing some icons, specifically singer Marvin Gaye and boxing heavyweight titan Jack Johnson.

"I’ve never been on the hero’s journey!" he tells THR. "Not one time. I’ve had the opportunity to support that journey, but I don’t know what that is to go on the hero’s journey and to carry a story. I would love to know what that is. There are so many wonderful characters out there. He is somewhat of a tragic figure, but I would love to play Jack Johnson. I would love to play Marvin Gaye. Marvin Gaye and Jack Johnson are my dream roles, but I really just want the opportunity to go on the hero’s journey. I’ve never done that."

Win or lose at the Academy Awards on February 26, it's hard to think that any director wouldn't fall all over themselves trying to make either picture happen for Ali.