Move over, Rocky Balboa. Former heavyweight champion and convicted rapist Mike Tyson will be thrown into the ring as the subject of at least four movie and television projects. Two of the contenders: The Rise and Fall of Mike Tyson: The Real Movie, due this fall, which a Double Helix Films spokesman calls ”a JFK-ish docudrama”; and a TV documentary being developed by Oscar winner Barbara Kopple (American Dream).
Two Tyson books are also about to weigh in. HBO was thinking of buying Montieth M. Illingworth’s hard-hitting 1991 account, Mike Tyson: Money, Myth, and Betrayal, but opted instead for an adaptation of Jose Torres’ 1989 Fire and Fear. The Illingworth book, which will now be produced by Trilateral Pictures as a feature film, includes an account of the feud between HBO and Tyson’s manager, Don King, who later took Tyson’s fights to Showtime. Was that a factor in HBO’s decision? Not according to Robert Cooper, senior vice president of HBO Pictures, who says the Torres book had simply been shopped to him before Illingworth’s; when Tyson was convicted, HBO bought it and will bring the story up to current events.