Bird Box(ing): Trevante Rhodes to Star as Mike Tyson in Hulu Biopic Series

Trevante Rhodes attends the Netflix Original: Bird Box panel at Comic-Con São Paulo on December 9, 2018.
Trevante Rhodes attends the Netflix Original: Bird Box panel at Comic-Con São Paulo on December 9, 2018.
Photo: Alexandre Schneider (Getty Images)

Go ahead and picture Trevante Rhodes working on Mike Tyson’s famous lisp with a dialect coach because the actor has been cast as the legendary professional boxer for a new Hulu series.


According to Deadline, the co-star of The United States vs. Billie Holiday will be portraying Tyson in Iron Mike, which is “set to explore the wild, tragic and controversial life and career of former world champion Tyson—one of the most polarizing figures in sports culture.” The recently ordered series will feature a trifecta of I, Tonya alumni—screenwriter Steven Rogers, director Craig Gillespie and executive producer Margot Robbie. Karen Gist (Mixed-ish) will serve as showrunner and executive producer. Rhodes will also produce the series.

After portraying “Adult Chiron” (also known as “Black”) in Barry Jenkins’ Best Picture Oscar-winning feature Moonlight, Rhodes went on to achieve popular movie success by co-starring in Netflix’s Bird Box.

As you may know by now, Jamie Foxx has already announced a Mike Tyson project—a limited series that he will star in and executive produce. Foxx, who is known for his many impersonations (including Tyson), has gone viral on social media for his previous pitch video about the much-anticipated project as well as his athletic regimen to bulk up for the role.

That means we’re going to get at least two different biopic perspectives, similar to the current Aretha Franklin projects—one theatrical release (Respect starring Jennifer Hudson) and one television series (Genius: Aretha starring Cynthia Erivo), the latter of which has already aired with the theatrical version coming August 13.

Rhodes’ fans have already cited the beautiful frames of his muscle-toned physique in Moonlight (though, like most actors, he’s smaller than I would’ve imagined him to be in person!), and are excited to see how he will approach the role. I mean, case in point, look at this gif.

Unlike Foxx’s project, however, it doesn’t seem like Tyson is completely on board with this one. When Hulu announced the biopic series in February, the boxing champ accused the streamer of “cultural misappropriation,” noting that he will be involved in the rival project starring Foxx.


“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 said in a statement in regards to Tyson’s disapproval of the series. “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.”

Foxx’s project isn’t officially attached to a network or streamer yet, but I’m guessing the delay isn’t from lack of interest, but more so money negotiations. As for the Hulu series starring Rhodes, we’ll keep our eyes peeled for a release date and more casting news!

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.



Growing up there were some must-see TV events I remember watching more than others; Bulls games, especially the playoffs, and gathering for Mike Tyson fights on PPV. Even though the main event was usually over pretty quickly (until he ran into Buster), nobody minded because it was like seeing lightning strike every time.

As much of a fan as I was back then, even I’ve got to say - how many more documentaries, shows, interviews, etc. do we need about Iron Mike? What is there left to say that hasn’t already been said by him as well as others? I’m willing to bet there are plenty of compelling stories in the world of boxing to tell if the writers, producers, directors, etc. looked beyond the same names again and again.