There are few athletes in recent American history as provocative as Mike Tyson. The former heavyweight champion of the world was feared inside and outside of the ring, often as much for his erratic behavior as for his fearsome punching power.
Even aside from his legendary run as a boxer and his stint in prison, Tyson’s lisp, his face tattoo, and his strange proclamations (“I want to eat his children!”) made him a fascinating character. Despite a few documentaries and even a stage show, there has yet to be a biopic of the boxer. That may be about to change.
For six years now, a Mike Tyson movie project has been in the works, with Jamie Foxx set to star, but numerous delays and setbacks cast doubt on the fact that it will ever hit theaters. Now it seems like it may actually happen. Last year Foxx was interviewed on Instagram Live by Hollywood producer Mark Birnbaum, and he confirmed that the project was going forward, and he is indeed going to play the notorious boxer.
“It’s a definitive yes,” Foxx told Birnbaum. “Doing biographies is a tough thing. Sometimes it takes 20 years to get it done but we officially got the real ball rolling. I can’t wait to show people what it is.”
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Foxx originally described the project as a biopic, but we’ve since learned it will be a limited series.
In recent days Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) was announced as director, with Martin Scorsese executive producing.
Foxx, a former comedian and gifted mimic who rose to prominence playing a quarterback in Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday and won an Oscar for portraying Ray Charles, is committed to some drastic weight change to transform himself into Iron Mike.
Speaking to Birnbaum, Foxx showed viewers a photo of his bulked-up physique discussed the work he’s doing to become the boxer, which includes 60 pull-ups, 60 dips, and 100 push-ups every other day as he aims to be between 216 and 230 pounds for the movie, which will portray Tyson through the years.
“I saw him at the height of his career, and then when things got bad and bumpy I also saw him as well. So what I’m excited about the movie is to show those moments,” he added. “I think everyone, young and old, will be able to understand this man’s journey.”
Tyson’s story is pretty insane, so it will be fun to see it on the big screen. Can Foxx pull it off? We’ll see. But we already know he can do the voice!