Mahershala Ali in Teaser for Mysterious '4:44,' Which Also Will Feature Lupita Nyong'o

Mahershala Ali in '4:44' teaser
Mahershala Ali in ‘4:44’ teaser

Mahershala Ali just won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Moonlight, and co-starred in another of last year’s biggest hits, Hidden Figures. Thus, even aside from the high-profile projects he has on his plate — including J.C. Chandor’s Triple Frontier with Ben and Casey Affleck, and Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron’s Alita: Battle Angel — one would assume he’s now being inundated with enticing A-list offers. Which is all the more reason to be so baffled — in the best way possible — by the announcement of his latest mystery project.

During Wednesday night’s ABC telecast of game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, a promo appeared for a work called “4:44” that featured black-and-white footage of a shirtless Ali training, seemingly for some sort of boxing match. At one point, Danny Glover is spied holding one of the bags that Ali is punishing with punches, and the end credits also list fellow Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o as part of the cast. Nonetheless, aside from the fact that “4:44” is going to be rated NC-17, and be available exclusively on Tidal and via Sprint (at, actual details about the nature of the film itself are so far scarce.

Is this an ad for an extended music video or short film tied to a new Jay-Z album, as Indiewire hypothesizes? Or is it an honest-to-goodness feature-length movie? Your guess is as good as ours; watch the stylishly shot Ali-led teaser above and start theorizing.

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