On August 25th, Hulu will drop an 8-episode miniseries on the life and career of the former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. Simply titled “Mike,” the series features Trevante Rhodes (best known for Moonlight) as Tyson and the great Harvey Keitel as the legendary trainer and father figure of Tyson, Cus D'Amato.
While Rhodes doesn't bear a particular resemblance to Tyson, that often doesn't matter if the performance nails the character (think Denzel in Malcolm X), but Tyson is such a recognizable figure that Rhodes' lack of similarity in appearance may be a hurdle for some fans. That being said, Rhodes has overcome this issue before. In the previously referenced Moonlight, Rhodes played the adult version of a young boy who goes through a variety of challenges with his sexuality, his mother's drug abuse, and simply finding a place for himself in the world. Rhodes bore little resemblance to the two younger actors who played the character of Chiron in the film's first two acts, but I'll be damned if it mattered at all by the time the third act faded to black.
Of course, Keitel as D'Amato sounds so perfect it's hard to imagine having to say any more about his inclusion in the series, other than I can't wait to see what he does with the part.
The talent behind the camera should make fight fans feel encouraged too. One of the directors of the series is Craig Gillespie, who directed I, Tonya and Lars, and the Real Girl – two highly lauded and artistic films. Producer/writer Steven Rogers also worked with Gillespie on I, Tonya, and producer Anthony Sparks has worked on such notable series as The Blacklist and Queen Sugar.
Clearly, Mike is going to be a first-rate production. But then, as Mike Tyson himself once said, “Everyone's got a plan until they get hit in the mouth.” That's just another way of saying, let's see what happens when the show premieres on August 25th.
Here's to hoping they get it right.