Mike Tyson's life has been the crystallization of both the American dream and an American nightmare. A juvenile delinquent from a broken home in New York, gets taken off the streets and mentored by a coach straight out of a Rocky movie. By twenty years old he was the youngest heavyweight champion in the world and one of the most feared human beings on the planet. His career was marked by shady promoters, sensational marriages, felony convictions, ear biting, drug addiction, tattooing his face, sharing the screen with Bradley Cooper and a tiger in The Hangover, and most recently starring in a hit one-man stage show on Broadway. Tyson has certainly lived a full life.
Last year we reported on Tyson confirming that a biopic was in development, with Oscar winner Jamie Foxx lined up to star and Martin Scorsese (Hugo, Gangs of New York) involved in at least a producer capacity. Recently Foxx called into a morning radio show, The Breakfast Club, and explained the status of the movie.
"I just went in with Paramount with Mike Tyson. So I’m going to do the Mike Tyson story. Listen, to be in the same room pitching Mike Tyson to Paramount, Mike Tyson is on one side, I’m on the other side and doing Mike Tyson at the same time. And Martin Scorsese at the helm. This will be the first boxing movie that Martin Scorsese has done since Raging Bull."
Raging Bull is consistently considered one of the best boxing films of all. Scorsese didn't simply focus on the boxing matches that defined Jake LaMotta's career. He followed his life beyond the lights, giving insight into the boxer in his old age. It should be mentioned that Robert De Niro won the Academy Award for his portrayal of LaMotta in the film. De Niro's method acting in Raging Bull is legendary as he went from peak physical condition, to gaining over 60 pounds to play the boxer in his old age. The parallels between to the two films shed light on why Scorsese would be intrigued by the Tyson project.
Foxx is an Academy Award winner in his own right for Ray, and he is also known for dramatic transformations. Choosing this role is not a coincidence for Foxx, he has been studying and impersonating the icon for decades. He explains how he first met Tyson.
"This is how I met Mike. I'm on stage 21, 22 years old. I go to my Mike Tyson joke and nobody laughed at it. I was like "what's up?" Then this dude in the back said, "Yo, Mike is in here...Mike said do the joke and it better be funny."
It seems that this is more than a simple chance at getting nominated for another Oscar for Foxx, but a true passion project for the actor. He explains what fascinates him about the project.
"I called Mike about a year ago and I said "How are you doing Mike? And he said, 'All praises to Allah. I'm happy my brother...because I don't have any money anymore...No one can take anything from me anymore. I'm just so happy nobody is trying to take anything from me.' And that's the story right there. The story of a guy at 18 years old had $60 million dollars in his pocket and everybody is trying to get it. And now, the grown guy that sits back and reflects on the whole thing and the money was the whole downfall. And it's not about Mike Tyson being...all flamboyant. Its him ordering his food. It's him talking to his kids. It's him reflecting. That's why I'm excited by it."
Tyson's transformation from a hardened gladiator to a lovable cartoon character, literally, has been one of the more unexpected developments of the 21st century. Is that an overstatement? Nope think about it...
Foxx is only a year apart from Tyson in age. From his comments it seems that much of the film will be told from Tyson's present perspective, with flashbacks to the past. It has been previously reported that Foxx will be digitally de-aged to play Tyson in his younger years. He explains how the transformation has already begun.
Scorsese is known for telling stories about New York history and culture. It will be hard to find a more authentic story for the director to tackle than that of Mike Tyson. The combination of the Oscar winning director and actor signals that the foundation for greatness has been laid. The fact that Foxx explained the pitch session to Paramount indicates the project has been greenlit as well, however it is unclear when there is a window for Scorsese to actually film it. We will definitely be bringing you the latest on the project.
What do you think of the Tyson biopic? Let us know below!
Source: Point of Geeks