HBO Films has announced that Mike Tyson’s one-man show will go from stage to screen, airing later this year. The program will be directed by Spike Lee (‘Malcolm X,’ ‘Do the Right Thing’), who currently directs the stage show, and has pitched a Tyson project to HBO in the past.
HBO’s programming President, Michael Lombardo, called Tyson’s stage show a “fascinating journey into his storied life and career, and we are thrilled to have Spike Lee bring it from the stage to the screen for our viewers.”
The one-man show, entitled, ‘Undisputed Truth,’ did a 10-week U.S. tour, which included shows in Las Vegas and on Broadway. The show received critical acclaim, as Tyson provides brutal honesty through stories about his past. He tells about his upbringing, his father-like relationship with the late boxing manager Cus D’Amato, and his troubles with fame.
James Toback handles much of this material with grace in the well-made 2008 documentary ‘Tyson.’ It will be interesting to see how the stage show, and the HBO version, differs from that material.
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Tyson’s personality--which has barely been touched on in the past--is how intensely he views boxing as an art form. Despite his upbringing as a brawler on the streets, Tyson studied “the sweet science” like a painter studies the work of Picasso. He can speak at great length about the legends of boxing, knowing details of every tendency a fighter may use in the ring.
Earlier this year, Mike Tyson sought to obtain a presidential pardon for former black heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, who was charged in 1913 for crossing state lines with his white girlfriend.