At the tender age of 20, Mike Tyson was crowned world heavyweight champion, making him the youngest boxer in this category to ever win a world title. Discovered in prison by Bobby Stewart, he started his professional career at 18, and quickly experienced a meteoric rise. After these promising beginnings, Mike Tyson oscillated between prison, drugs, stinging defeats and million-dollar victories. A tempestuous and violent path that could only seduce Hollywood.
It was in 2014 that a biopic project became a reality when Jamie Foxx agreed to play the boxer on the big screen. A year later the American channel Fox announced it was in talks with Martin Scorsese who’d agreed to direct it. But then in 2017, the project stalled. It took three more years to finally get the go-ahead. In a video interview with Hollywood producer Mark Birnbaum on June 19th, Jamie Foxx finally revealed a few nuggets of information. When asked whether the film was happening or now, the man who played Django Freeman declared “definitely yes”. The very same day, Jamie Foxx shared some images of his impressive transformation on Instagram, adding “The transformation begins... “FINDING MIKE”. It is no secret that I have been pursuing the Mike Tyson biopic for some time... People always ask me when is it going to happen?... Things have finally lined up... A few months ago we started the journey.”
The sporting talent of Mike Tyson and his participation in numerous films and TV shows made him a pop culture icon characterised by the tattoo on his left cheek. From 2009, just three years after retiring, Mike Tyson confirmed that he’d like to see Jamie Foxx playing him in a biopic. Beyond the impressive career of the actor, the two men have long been friends and this connection undoubtedly motivated the choice. Thirty years of affection that all started in a theatre: while performing his stand-up show, aged 22, Jamie Foxx had dared to make a joke about the sportsman, without suspecting for a second that Mike Tyson himself was in the room.
Now we’ll just have to wait and see which events the writers will include in the script: will the rape of Desiree Washington for which Mike Tyson was sentenced to 6 years in jail in 1992 be spared? Will the script focus only on his sporting career? Jamie Foxx seems to be so close to the ex-boxer that a half-hearted portrait seems highly unlikely.