Moonlight star Trevante Rhodes is set to play Mike Tyson in Hulu‘s limited series Iron Mike, which hails from the team behind I, Tonya.
Iron Mike will explore the former heavyweight champion’s wild, tragic and controversial life and career. The series aims to go beyond the hype, headlines and media frenzy to examine a story that deals with racism, misogyny, wealth divide and the impact of generational trauma in America told through the lens of this boxing legend. Despite being one of the most polarizing figures in sports culture, the hard-hitting fighter has already been the subject of multiple documentaries, including James Toback‘s acclaimed 2009 film Tyson.
Margot Robbie will executive produce Iron Mike alongside her I, Tonya director Craig Gillespie and screenwriter Steven Rogers, who created the series Karin Gist will serve as showrunner and executive produce alongside Claire Brown and Rhodes, as well as Robbie‘s LuckyChap partner Tom Ackerley, Bryan Unkeless and Scott Morgan of Clubhouse Pictures, and Darin Friedman of Entertainment 360. 20th Television is producing the eight-episode limited series, which will begin production later this year.
Though Tyson is considered one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, he was convicted of rape in 1992 and sentenced to six years in prison. He was released on parole after three years and quickly returned to the ring. However, his 1997 rematch with Evander Holyfield ended abruptly when Tyson bit off a portion of his opponent’s right ear and was subsequently disqualified.
Tyson disgraced the sport of boxing that night, and he retired from the ring in 2006 following consecutive losses to a couple of journeymen fighters. He declared bankruptcy in 2003 despite having earned more than $300 million over the course of his career. He also appeared in movies such as The Hangover, Entourage, Rocky Balboa, Grudge Match, A Madea Family Funeral, Scary Movie V and Toback‘s Black & White.
When Iron Mike was first announced, I predicted that Hulu would have a tough time finding an actor who could match Tyson’s intensity without veering into caricature, but I have to say that Rhodes is a strong choice. Not only is he legitimately talented, but he has the right build for the physically demanding role. Though Rhodes is coming off the Hulu movie The United States vs. Billie Holiday, he has been stuck in disappointing films like 12 Strong, The Predator and Bird Box of late, so here’s hoping that Iron Mike will be the project that makes good on the potential he showed in Moonlight. Tyson is certainly a fascinating subject for a limited series and I’m excited to see how this one turns out.