BEVERLY HILLS, California — In 2004, Jamie Foxx and director Taylor Hackford teamed up to make a biopic about a legendary figure who’d endured tremendous triumphs, failures, loves and losses. The film was called “Ray” — and in case you haven’t heard, it turned out to be pretty good.
Now Foxx has revealed exclusively to MTV News that he is making plans to reunite with the filmmaker — and that he wants to collaborate on a follow-up film that would cast an unflinching eye on an even more dramatically powerful icon.
“Mike Tyson, heavyweight boxing champion of the world,” Foxx grinned when we caught up with him recently, giving us a lispy, high-pitched sneak peek at his next transformation. “Taylor Hackford, who also directed [the] Ray Charles [biopic], I think is my man. We have a certain kinship, and we’ve talked about when we do get back together what it would be like. I think, for something like this, it would be great because everybody remembers that era. And it’s been a long enough time that people need a refreshening.”
Tyson rose to fame as a ferocious, hard-hitting 20-year-old when he won the 1986 World Boxing Council championship, and as he tore his way through anyone who dared to oppose him in the late ’80s/ early ’90s, it looked like he might become one of the greatest boxers of all time. Over the years that followed, divorce, rape, bankruptcy, psychotic behavior and various other incidents transformed him from one of the most beloved to one of the most despised figure in all of sports.
The boxer recently revealed to MTV that he wants Foxx to tackle his life story on the screen — and the star says he’s in. “I’ve reached out to Mike, and I’ve been open about it,” Foxx said of his involvement as the untitled film’s producer and star. “I think that, of all the biopics that are out there, he has the most interesting story that no one has ever heard.”
Foxx (who can be seen October 16 in “Law Abiding Citizen”) told us that there’s far more to Iron Mike then the headlines have provided us with, and that he intends to explore a great deal more than just ear-biting and face tattoos. “I’ve been privy to some of the private things that I just think are so amazing.”
And although Jamie already appeared in Michael Mann’s “Ali,” arguably the greatest boxing biopic ever made, he insisted that there’s plenty of new material here to explore. “It’s different because someone said, ’Well, you know, “Ali” was this,’ and, ’ “Ali,” you know, the Brown Bomber.’ I said, ’Yeah, but they had a great story and it was redemptive.’ This is the stories that we have today. There are no redemptive stories now — there are just stories that happen.
“Here’s this guy that could do no wrong, and everything he did, we loved it,” Foxx said of the angle he hopes to explore with help from Hackford, who previously directed him to a Best Actor win at the Oscars. “And then, when he wasn’t the heavyweight champion, anything he did was considered foul and just horrible.”
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