Mike Tyson has made many a movie appearance over the last few years (even solving animated mysteries on TV!), and the one constant through all of his appearances, is that he always played himself. That’s about to change, as Oscar winner Jamie Foxx will instead be lacing up the gloves and breaking out his best ear-sushi recipes to portray the (in)famous ex-boxing champ turned pigeon racer in an upcoming biopic.
According to Variety, Foxx’s manager Rick Yorn is putting together the project which still doesn’t have a title as of yet. What it does have is an incredible screenwriter in Terence Winter, the pen behind The Wolf of Wall Street and creator of The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire.
Winter certainly couldn’t have asked for a better personality to base a film on, as Tyson experienced a very well documented roller-coaster of a life that will be prime feature film material (and which has only really been tackled once before in a made for TV movie starring Michael Jai White). Tyson had a meteoric rise as a boxer, claiming the heavyweight crown in the late 1980’s (the youngest to ever do so), becoming as loved outside the ring as he was feared inside of it. However, once he lost his belt, his professional and personal life went into a nose dive, culminating in Tyson eventually being convicted of and serving time for rape. And despite eventually returning to the sport that made him a star after he was paroled, and even recapturing the titles he had lost, Tyson was never quite the same boxer.
He would lose his recaptured belt to Evander Holyfield in a fight during which several accidental headbutts from Holyfield angered Tyson and his camp. When the pair eventually paired off for a rematch, it would go down as one of the most infamous boxing matches in history, as Tyson – apparently in retaliation for the headbutts of the previous fight – proceeded to bite off a piece of Holyfield’s ear, which was eventually found lying in the ring. The resultant stoppage and disqualification of Tyson sparked a near-riot in the MGM Grand Arena in which several people were injured.
After the Holyfield fiasco, Tyson would serve jail time again for assault and would eventually retire from the sport and end up filing for bankruptcy (despite having earned over $300 million dollars in his career) as well as facing the death of his daughter just a few years later. After admitting and receiving treatments for various substance abuse problems though, Tyson would begin turning his life around, getting involved in various stage events, reality TV programmes and movies, most famously playing himself in The Hangover trilogy.
All of that is a lot of material to work with, and it’s uncertain just which part of it Winter’s script will tackle, but it looks like it could be all of it. When speaking to Daily Mirror about the biopic, Tyson explained that that Foxx would be requiring some digital assistance for his performance.
“Within a year to 18 months, we’re going to do the Mike Tyson story and he’s going to portray me, and now they have this new animation; because you know Jamie’s pretty much my age so he can’t portray me but they have this new system.”
That “new system” is the same CGI technology that was used in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to age Brad Pitt up and down, meaning that we will probably be getting to see Foxx play Tyson at various stages in his life. Foxx – who is no stranger to boxing having played Dwight “Bundini” Brown, the cornerman to Will Smith’s Muhammad Ali in Ali – has apparently asked the ex-boxing champ to train him for the role.
Tyson also indicated that Martin Scorsese, who has partnered with Winter on several productions and who knows a thing or two about making movies based on the lives of polarizing boxing champions, will also be involved, though seemingly only in a producing or consulting capacity.
Last Updated: August 1, 2014