Mike Tyson is one of the most explosive and enigmatic sportsmen of all-time. His life has been one of monumental ups and crushing downs. From a rough childhood to bursting onto the boxing scene, jail, bankruptcy and the acting comeback that followed, Tyson has always been a fascinating character and now his life is set for the big screen.
With actor, singer, comedian and television presenter Jamie Foxx (seriously, is there anything he can’t do?) stepping into the shoes of the main man, the American A-lister is a big fan of the brash boxer and is already gearing up to get into role. Info is being slowly eked out about the movie so here is all you need to know so far about the highly-anticipated ‘Finding Mike’ biopic which is certain to be a knockout blockbuster.
Jamie Foxx has wanted to get stuck into this part for a very long time having met the boxing legend in the late eighties at a stand-up comedy show in LA.
With talk of a film starting around 2014, he has finally been able to start the project but it’s not just a case of turning up on set and learning the lines, oh no. To play the role of Tyson, you have to be Tyson, in mind and body.
"It is no secret that I have been pursuing the @miketyson biopic for some time... people always ask me when is it going to happen? Things have finally lined up,” he revealed on Instagram earlier this summer. "A few months ago we started the journey... The first but biggest task is to transform the body with a regiment of pull-ups dips and push-ups we are off to a pretty good start. We have a ways to go but God willing… I shared these early pics of the process... like I said we have a ways to go... But I am prepared to get there!"
The 52-year-old acting supremo, 18-months Tyson’s junior, has been bulking up for the role. Every other day, he’s pushing himself to the limits. An elder gentleman already in extreme shape, he’s hammering in sixty pull ups, sixty dips and 100 push ups.
Foxx revealed his physique will start at 216lbs, that’s 15st 4lbs, at the start of filming to resemble Tyson’s build which was like solid brick. He’ll continue to build on that as he aims to ‘balloon’ to 230lbs for a look of 250 because as we know, the camera adds pounds!
As yet, Foxx is in the lead role but other cast members are yet to be revealed.
Martin Scorsese, the Hollywood icon behind Raging Bull, the critically acclaimed 1980 sports movie featuring Roberto De Niro, has been rumoured to be in the director’s chair for ‘Finding Mike’.
One review of the 40-year-old hit film said: "Arguably Martin Scorsese's and Robert De Niro's finest film, Raging Bull is often painful to watch, but it's a searing, powerful work about an unsympathetic hero."
Now 77, it seems Scorsese would be the ideal man to tell the story of Tyson. Having directed Goodfellas and more recently, Wolf of Wall Street, this would be Scorsese’ first boxing move since Raging Bull.
"Martin Scorsese has agreed to take the helm,” Foxx told Showtime’s All The Smoke. “We want to show everybody evolves. Everybody comes from a good or bad place.
“I think when we lay the layers on Mike Tyson in this story, I think everybody from young and old will be able to understand this man’s journey and the way we’ll place it.”
Terence Winter, who worked on The Sopranos and created Boardwalk Empire, was previously linked with writing the screenplay but that has not been confirmed during this year’s teases.
Tyson’s life has been well-documented. He was a world champion at 20 and in later life spent three years behind bars for a rape conviction he has always contested.
It’s unknown at this stage if ‘Finding Mike’ will be a full life story or centre in one aspect of his life. Of course, with the huge popularity of the Rocky franchise, countless Ali films and the rise of boxing as a spectacle in recent years, a film about Tyson must feature him in the ring.
Born in Brooklyn in 1966, his father had left the family when Tyson was only two and ten yeast later he was in a street gang. His early years were tough before he was discovered by legendary coach Cus D’Amato and moulded into a champion. Then there is the man of today, an actor, a showman who performs one man shows and even a cartoon character.
There are many layers to Tyson, but as the film title suggests, some are more difficult to find than others.
“Boxing is such an enigma, as a sport, he told The Sportsman in an exclusive chat earlier this year. “This is what really matters: in two hundred years from now, there will probably only be five fighters that people will remember. That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about having money, about becoming rich. That they won’t stop mentioning your name until the planet’s disintegrated: that’s what this is really about,”
Tyson will be remembered throughout the annals of boxing history, and this film will solidify that and tell more of his story with no dramatic licence needed.
The Release Date
There has been no official confirmation yet, though initial reports suggested the film could be released around mid to late 2021. However, it now seems 2022 would be more likely. Of course, the global Coronavirus pandemic is an ongoing situation and, having halted filming once, further delays could happen. The cost is still unknown but with Foxx at the helm and a stellar cast expected, this won’t be a cheap one.
Reaction from Tyson
“That’s going to be pretty wild!” Tyson told the Joe Rogan podcast about the movie being made.
“Jamie Foxx can do anything, right? He’s pretty awesome. We’ll see how it works out. For some reason, they have their Hollywood ways of doing things, they make it Hollywood-ish.
“It’s wild how they switch it. What I realised too, from a Hollywood perspective, some things that are real are just still unbelievable.”
Finding Mike has got the wild seal of approval from Tyson and it has from us too. We can’t wait for this one.