BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Mike Tyson is going back to pay TV, where his fights were some of the biggest moneymakers in boxing history.
Only this time the punches he’s throwing are verbal.
The former heavyweight champion is teaming with director Spike Lee to bring Tyson’s one-man stage show to HBO later this year.
The program was filmed on Broadway, where “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth” ran last summer.
Lee used 11 cameras to film the show that he described as part of Tyson’s legacy outside the ring. Tyson gives an unvarnished recounting of his life’s highs and lows, including his years in prison, biting Evander Holyfield’s ear, his marriages, being a tabloid target and his drug use.
“Most human beings are not going to display the dark parts of themselves, the demons they have, to the world,” Lee told the Television Critics Association on Thursday. “When you see this he’s out there on this stage naked sharing his experience, his ups and downs to the audience and it’s traumatic. It’s the most courageous thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I couldn’t do it and most people couldn’t do it.”
Tyson found walking on stage to do a live show similar to going into the ring, with similar energy among the Broadway and fight crowds.
“I can’t wait to get my hands on the guy like I can’t wait to get on stage. Just like in a fight, I wanted to kill everybody in the room, by my performance, of course,” he said, adding the biggest difference was “I don’t have to go to the hospital after I perform.”
With Tyson waiting in the wings with his mic clipped on, Lee said, “We had to hold him back until he hears the bell ’cause he’s ready to go.”
Tyson’s wife, Kiki, wrote the script for the stage show, which toured the country earlier this year. Tyson said it reflects his life’s journey from Brooklyn street urchin to happily married father.
“It’s how I plan on living my life now in a productive way,” he said. “This is all pretty much new to me but it’s working.”