Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson‘s one-man stage show that was shot by HBO and directed by Spike Lee that premieres later this year originated in Las Vegas as a much different project, Tyson told the TCA gathering this afternoon. It originally had him backed by a rock band, Tyson noted, before Lee got involved and moved the show to Broadway for two weeks of shows last summer. “Spike changed it to just me,” he said, “though I liked it with the band a lot too.” The show — called Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth – finds the long-troubled and controversial fighter recounting his life’s highs and lows, from his boxing career to his time in prison. While a clip shown from the special made it appear that Tyson was speaking extemporaneously, in fact he’s following a script that was crafted by his wife. It was shot during two of the Broadway performances. While Tyson has had plenty of experiencing performing in entertainment projects, mostly in cameos, the boxer said today that doing his one-man show “felt like second nature.” He was happy to get the gig because it’s helping to pay the bills. “I didn’t know how I was going to be able to do it,” he admitted. Tyson also said he found parallels between emoting onstage and throwing his fists in the ring. “The only difference is I don’t have to go to the hospital after I perform,” he deadpanned. In both cases “it’s like being in a war.”
HBO has bought TV rights to Mike Tyson’s one-man show, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth. HBO Films will film the show in July for debut on HBO later in the year. The stage production features “Iron Mike” recounting his life’s highs and lows in his signature candid style. He opens up about his troubled youth, landmark boxing career, key people in his life, controversies, time in prison, self-examination, family and new beginnings. Tyson recently wrapped a 10-week U.S. tour of the production, which debuted in Las Vegas in spring 2012 and ran on Broadway last summer, with filmmaker Spike Lee directing. Lee and Tyson — who also collaborated on the HBO pilot Da Brick, a drama series inspired by Tyson’s childhood that the premium network passed on last year — are among the exec producers, as is Kiki Tyson, who also wrote; Jon Kilik; and James Nederlander.