Trevante Rhodes packs a punch as Mike Tyson in first look at new Hulu series
Moonlight star Trevante Rhodes steps into the ring as Mike Tyson in Hulu's new eight-episode limited series Mike, about the polarizing boxer, out Aug. 25. The trailer, which EW can exclusively debut above, gives a peek into what is sure to be a wild ride — pet tiger and all.
The trailer promises to tell the story of Tyson's life, from flashbacks of his childhood to glimpses of Rhodes as the athlete in the boxing ring, holding an underwear-clad press conference, sauntering through a crowd of adoring fans, and walking to a prison cell.
Tyson is a controversial figure in and out of the ring — he was convicted of rape in 1992 and his boxing license was revoked two years later after biting an opponent's ears — and a provocative choice as the subject for a limited series. Showrunner Karin Gist tells EW that the writing team's goal was to "dig deeper" into the story behind the public figure "that everyone thinks they know."
"The show is not meant to glorify his life," Gist says. "We were never trying to say that Mike Tyson is a hero or Mike Tyson is a villain. Our goal was to take a very complicated and controversial figure and try to get under the hood of what he was praised and vilified for while staying true to our North Star of 'no one person is one thing.'"
"The show is not supposed to be a love letter or an indictment, which is why we had to include all the good, the bad, and the complexities of both," Gist continues. "Fortunately, as a global society, we are all talking more and more about things that were once taboo or only whispered about among friends — rape, sexual assault, consent to name a few. Putting stories like this in the spotlight and pulling them out of the shadows is crucial to moving forward and getting the conversation to the next level. The goal was not to shy away from the scary or uncomfortable parts of the story just because they are scary and uncomfortable."
Gist joined the series as showrunner after creator Steven Rogers wrote the pilot episode as a follow-up to his 2017 Oscar-nominated movie I, Tonya — another project about a controversial athlete who made headlines in the '90s.
"I think the thing people responded to in I, Tonya was, we took a story everyone thought they knew and we tried to show there's much more to it than just the sound bites the media gives us," Rogers explains. "Then one of us said, 'What about doing that with Mike Tyson?' I clicked to that because to me, his story is so compelling, contradictory, and complex. In some ways, it's a cautionary tale of the American Dream. It also seemed like quite a ride. And you can find the roots of a lot of issues we're grappling with today like #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, prison reform, mental health issues in it. It seemed like a good time to tell it."
The limited series aims to present viewers with "all sides of [Tyson's] life and the lives of the people around him. No one is just one thing. There's more behind a sound bite or a headline or gossip," Gist says.
"We wanted people to see Mike's own culpability in his life and society's culpability as well," she adds. "We wanted to let our audience decide what they think and feel."
In addition to Rhodes, Mike also stars Russell Hornsby, Harvey Keitel, Laura Harrier, and Li Eubanks.
Mike debuts Aug. 25 on Hulu. Watch the exclusive trailer above.
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