Hulu's biographical limited series Iron Mike has found its Mike Tyson. After impressing audiences in the Oscar-winning movie Moonlight, actor Trevante Rhodes has signed on to star as the controversial boxing legend. Steven Rogers (I, Tonya) wrote the eight-part series with Craig Gillespie directing. I, Tonya and The Suicide Squad star Margot Robbie executive produces alongside series showrunner Karin Gist (Mixed-ish).
"Biographical pictures are a fan favorite and a staple of the movie and television business and frequently the subjects are not involved," Craig Erwich, President of ABC Entertainment and Hulu Originals, told Deadline. "We have a strategy of taking a modern lens and applying it to stories and figures of popular culture of the past. We've had a lot of success doing that and I think it reveals interesting things, not just about where we've been but where we are so we're looking forward to continuing the creative conversations behind Iron Mike."
Iron Mike will explore the "wild, tragic and controversial life and career of heavyweight champion Tyson - one of the most polarizing figures in sports culture." It does not include the involvement of Tyson personally, as the boxer made clear in a statement denouncing the project when it was previously announced in February. He also said he was working on a separate biographical project that he insisted would be more accurate.
"Hulu's announcement to do an unauthorized mini-series of the Tyson story without compensation, although unfortunate, isn't surprising," Tyson said on Instagram. "This announcement on the heels of social disparities in our country is a prime example of how Hulu's corporate greed led to this tone-deaf cultural misappropriation of the Tyson life story. To make this announcement during Black History Month only confirms Hulu's concern for dollars over respect for black story rights. Hollywood needs to be more sensitive to black experiences especially after all that has transpired in 2020."
Tyson added: "The real Mike Tyson authorized story is in development and will be announced in coming days. Hulu to announce stealing a black athletes story during Black History month couldn't be more inappropriate or tone deaf."
Soon after, it was revealed that a long-gestating biopic with Jamie Foxx playing Tyson was finally moving forward as a limited series. Tyson serves as an executive producer on the project, giving this one his stamp of approval. Colin Preston serves as the series writer and Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) will direct. Called Tyson, the series doesn't yet have a home but shouldn't have much problems attracting buyers with Foxx in the lead role.
Along with his acclaimed role in Moonlight, Trevante Rhodes also appeared in the HBO series Westworld and had roles in other movies like 12 Strong, The Predator, and Bird Box. His latest performance was seen in the biographical drama The United States vs. Billie Holiday, which was released on Hulu in February. Directed by Lee Daniels, the movie also stars Andra Day as the titular singer.
As for Iron Mike, it's unclear as of now when that series will also become available on Hulu, but production is slated to start later this year. This news comes to us from Deadline.