The life of Mike Tyson seems like it would be perfect fodder for a Hollywood biopic. Raised on the streets of Brooklyn, Tyson became the protege of legendary boxing trainer Cus D'Amato and under D'Amato's tutelage rose to become heavyweight champion of the world. However, the troubled Tyson couldn't handle life in the limelight and suffered a hard fall when he was found guilty of rape and sent to prison. After being released, Tyson returned to the public eye and became one of the most controversial celebrities of our time.
Tyson's story has already told via an acclaimed documentary, but a fictionalized account of his life delivered by top-level filmmakers is still something a lot of people would like to see. Indeed, plans have been on the table for awhile for a Tyson biopic, with big-time talents Jamie Foxx, Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter reportedly involved.
It's been awhile since we heard anything about that promised Tyson biopic but now there is an update. In an interview with Screen Rant to promote his new thriller Sleepless, Foxx revealed that plans for a Tyson biopic are still very much alive and that Scorsese is still involved in these plans. Here is the revenant exchange from said interview:
Screen Rant: Speaking of getting punched, one of the most polarizing lives of the past thirty years has been Mike Tyson. I know you were attached [to a biopic of Tyson], what’s the update on that?
Jamie Foxx: That is a go.
Screen Rant: It’s a go? Martin Scorsese’s still attached?
Jamie Foxx: Yeah, he’s attached, and it’s—Mike Tyson’s life is one of the most amazing American stories.
Foxx already struck biopic gold with his performance as singer Ray Charles in the Oscar-winning Ray, and bringing Mike Tyson to the screen would be another considerable feather in his cap to say the least. With Martin Scorsese, the director of legendary boxing film Raging Bull orchestrating things, Foxx's Tyson flick would have a chance to catapult into out-and-out classic territory.
Tyson's story undoubtedly has enough twists-and-turns to make for gripping cinema, especially with The Wolf of Wall Street writer Terence Winter handling the script. Winter proved with Wolf that he knows how to take an unsavory character and turn him into a protagonist the audience is willing to follow through lots of ugly episodes. Needless to say, he would have to bring those same gifts to bear here, in order to keep the audience invested in Tyson's story through some of its darkest chapters.
Telling Tyson's story would be tricky indeed, but if anyone can pull it off, it's the team of Foxx, Scorsese and Winter. Hopes for a Tyson biopic are clearly very much alive and we can look forward to hearing more updates in the future. In the meantime, you can check out Foxx's thriller Sleepless when it hits select theaters this month.
- Sleepless (2017) release date: Jan 13, 2017