Sony Pictures Classics has confirmed the acquisition of North American rights to writer-director James Toback’s acclaimed documentary, TYSON (winner of the Un Certain Regard’s Knockout Prize at the Cannes Film Festival). TYSON will have its North American premiere later this month at the Sundance Film Festival and will be released in theatres on April 24, 2009. Former heavyweight champion “Iron” Mike Tyson was involved and “100% supports” the project according to Tyson friend and confidant Damon Bingham.
TYSON is acclaimed indie director James Toback’s intimate and moving no- holds-barred portrait of a humbled Mike Tyson told in the words of the former heavyweight champion. In TYSON, Mike Tyson examines his own life in and out of the ring with a candor, eloquence and vulnerability that is by turns poignant, funny and never less than brutally honest. Through a deft mixture of original interviews and archival footage and photographs, a surprisingly complex, fully- rounded human being emerges.
The film ranges from Mike’s earliest memories of growing up on the mean streets of Brooklyn through his entry into the world of boxing, including his rollercoaster ride through the funhouse of worldwide fame and his fortunes won and lost. TYSON offers much more than a documentary about a former heavyweight champ — it is the story of a legendary and uniquely controversial international athletic icon, a figure conjuring radical questions of race and class, and a man who arose from the most debased circumstances and soared to seemingly unlimited heights, followed by destruction generated by hubris, like a character out of classical tragedy.
In a statement Toback says, “The effort to portray a complex, internationally iconographic figure in a stylistically originally way has proved a far more ambitious, but far more satisfying task than I had envisioned when I started shooting over two years ago. I trust Michael and Tom, whom I have known for twenty years, to send out and guide the film with passion, intelligence and twists of invention.”
Sony Pictures Classics released the following statement, “Tyson is an important movie and an important cultural document. James Toback is at the peak of his form. We look forward to bringing this film to the American public.”
In additional news, NBA All- Star Carmelo Anthony comes onboard the film as an executive producer. Anthony is joining producers Damon Bingham, Harlan Werner and James Toback, who shepherded the project from inception. Inspired by his love of movies and the art of filmmaking, Anthony recently founded Krossover Productions, a broad range production company that will focus on all genres of film and TV. TYSON is the first film the company is involved with.
“Outside of basketball, movies are my big passion, and it is a great experience for me to be a part of this film,” says Anthony. “James Toback truly created a work of art with TYSON, and we are exicited for the public to see very soon what this film is all about.”