Wednesday, June 22, 2011

HBO Developing Dramatic Boxing Series Based On Mike Tyson

HBO has ordered a pilot from Doug Ellin, the writer and producer of "Entourage," for a dramatic series based on the rise of a fictional Newark, N.J. boxer.  Ellin has enlisted Spike Lee and Mike Tyson to co-produce.

"Da Brick" is the title of the series about the up and coming fighter loosely-based on Tyson's own rise to fame as a boxer. 

The idea for the project stemmed from a conversation Tyson had with Ellin while the former heavyweight champion was doing a guest spot on "Entourage" in 2010.

"Why don't you do with my life what you did with Mark's [Wahlberg] life on 'Entourage?' Ellin said Tyson asked him while on the set.

Simple as that, a gritty new series was born.

The title "Da Brick" is a reference to Newark being know as "The Brickyard City" or "Brick City."

Ellin will act only as producer of the series with co-producer Jim Lefkowitz while "Entourage" ends it's eight year run on HBO.  The head writer will be John Ridley, Lee's co-writer in a film-in-development about the Los Angeles riots.

It is not known if Tyson will hone his "Hangover 2" acting chops and appear in a  role or guest spot on the series but, his wife, Lakiha Tyson will co-executive produce with Azim Spicer.

Lee's people have been scouring local New York City area boxing gyms for locations and actors.  The casting directors are looking for actors who "have chops" and fight experience.

By basing a series on the dwindling fight game, does HBO have a Pacquiao or a patsie on it's hands?

Wahlberg produced "The Fighter," last year's Academy Award nominated and winning film about boxer 'Irish' Mickey Ward and his brother Dicky, which successfully brought the world of boxing to the masses.

On the other hand, FX's "Lights Out," a fine series about a fighter coming out of retirement, was cancelled after a single critically-acclaimed season. 

Even if Tyson doesn't appear in the series, it will probably not be too difficult to separate the fiction from the facts regarding the one-man demolition crew.  There is too much of his life that was public domain.

Both inside and outside of the ring, Tyson's recollections alone bring a solid foundation of incidents for the writers to incorporate into the scripts.  The out-of-control fighter has endured both the glory, the scandals and the shame behind the sport.

I wonder if there will be pigeons and facial tattoos?

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