Sony Pictures Classics
Traditionally we hear news about upcoming movies from an involved talent’s publicist or a studio press release. But we should never discount Mike Tyson as a sterling direct source for scoops, especially when the movie in question is about Mike Tyson. The boxer recently broke the following via IGN:
“Listen, me and Jamie Foxx are in discussions, and within a year or 18 months we’re going to do the Mike Tyson Story.” Later, he added, “I think that Martin Scorsese is going to be involved in it as well.”
Administer your grain of salt, as Tyson has a history of saying whatever thoughts pop into his head, but this time he appears to be right on the money. Per Variety, we now know that Foxx will in fact be starring in an Iron Mike story with a script to be written by Terence Winter. No official journalistic sources have breached the subject of Scorsese, but the director collaborated with Winter on The Wolf of Wall Street, Boardwalk Empire and an upcoming HBO series with Mick Jagger, so it’s probable that Scorsese is just not attached in an official capacity quite yet.
There have been movies about the former undisputed heavyweight champ before. In 1995, HBO put out Tyson, a fairly standard biopic with Michael Jai White as the beefy and frequently terrifying boxer. Then, 2008 saw the release of Tyson, a documentary that probed the boxer’s instability. It’s a thoughtful, introspective look at a man who once threatened to eat another man’s children.
Winter and Foxx’s film, which as per some unwritten rule enforced by a 240lb. punching machine will undoubtedly also be called Tyson, would be best suited in taking a different approach to Iron Mike. No basic biopic-ing. No intelligent self-reflection. What this Tyson needs is a good ol’ dash of The Wolf of Wall Street’s batshit craziness. Because Tyson is one of the few people with a genuine claim at outmaneuvering Jordan Belfort in the insanity fields. As proof, witness this collection of things that should absolutely be included in the movie:
Loving on Some Pigeons: Tyson’s affinity for the sewer rats of the bird world is legendary. He first realized his affinity for destroying people’s faces when a big bully of a kid killed one of his favorite childhood pigeons. A young Tyson hit the kid really hard in the face, and the legend was born. He has since cared for up to 350 pigeons at a time, and he’s tried to turn pigeon racing into a competitive sport on the Animal Planet reality show Taking on Tyson.
Loving on Some Tigers: Next in line for the “animals Mike Tyson has famously cuddled” crowd is a massive Bengal tiger. He cared for it, often while rocking a Tarzan look in his tighty whities, and spooned with it and complained that tiger farts are serious business. He’d like to own another one, but he has children now. And also far less money.
Not Loving at All on Some Gorillas: While there doesn’t seem to be any proof that this incident really occurred, here’s a choice Tyson quote: “I paid a worker at New York’s zoo to re-open it just for me and Robin [Givens, his wife at the time]. When we got to the gorilla cage there was one big silverback gorilla there just bullying all the other gorillas. They were so powerful, but their eyes were like an innocent infant. I offered the attendant $10,000 to open the cage and let [me] smash that silverback’s snotbox! He declined.”
Joining the WWE: In the late ’90s, Tyson took some time off from being the undisputed king of a very real fighting sport to rule over the fakest fight sport in all the land, the WWE. I wonder if Stone Cold Steve Austin understood the very real danger of flipping Iron Mike the bird on national TV. Watch below.
Threatening to Eat Another Man’s Family: Another potent Tyson quotable, aimed at former adversary Lennox Lewis: “My style is impetuous. My defense is impregnable, and I’m just ferocious. I want your heart, I want to eat his children.” Maybe Foxx’s film could even include Tyson’s follow-up to that quote. Let’s thank the concept of Reddit AMAs for the following exchange:
AMA: “do you regret telling that guy you were going to eat his children?”
Tyson: “Yeah I guess I do”
The Hangover: Foxx already has a connection with Zach Galifianakis (Due Date) and Bradley Cooper (Valentine’s Day). It wouldn’t be such a stretch, then, to grab Ed Helms and go full meta with a fictionalized movie of a real movie with Mike Tyson in it. Or, would you get actors to play Galifianakis, Cooper and Helms? Anything’s possible if this Tyson flick goes full nutball.
Mike Tyson has been alive for 48 years. That means Winter, Fox and maybe Scorsese have a treasure trove of crazy Tyson-isms to choose from. And yes, let’s go ahead and count all 48 years, because for all we know baby Tyson built a chariot out of his crib and a couple of cats, then played Ben-Hur upon the other neighborhood children. This is a film the world needs to see. Foxx and Winter, please do us proud.