The biographical drama has been in the works for over five years, originally intended as a feature film. Initially set at Paramount, Foxx’s passion project at various times had directors like Todd Phillips and Martin Scorsese attached. The latter filmmaking legend has stuck around and will serve as executive producer on the limited series.
News of Fuqua’s involvement and the shift to a TV format comes about a month after Hulu announced its own unauthorized Tyson story, Iron Mike, from the I, Tonya team. The controversial boxer called for a boycott of the streaming service, saying its decision to tell his story “without compensation… is a prime example of how Hulu’s corporate greed led to this tone-deaf cultural misappropriation.” He added, “To make this announcement during Black History Month only confirms Hulu’s concern for dollars over respect for black story rights.”
Still, Foxx, Fuqua, and Scorsese’s new project is sure to cause a dust up of its own. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, it may be hard to find a buyer for the limited series preciously because of Tyson’s involvement. The fact that the boxer himself is working with the team may spark doubt that the story will accurately portray the darker moments of his life, namely his three-year prison stint after being found guilty of raping an 18-year-old girl in 1992.
Said Tyson in a statement,
“I have been looking to tell my story for quite some time. With the recent launch of Legends Only League and the excitement from fans following my return to the ring, now feels like the perfect moment. I look forward to collaborating with Martin, Antoine, Jamie and the entire creative team to bring audiences a series that not only captures my professional and personal journey but also inspires and entertains.”
Whether audiences or content providers will take a swing at that story is to be seen. Either way, Foxx has been ready for this role for a long time, as can be seen in the Access video interview below, in which he shows off his physique and Tyson impression.