cus and mike

Anthony Hopkins is going to train Mike Tyson…sort of. Hopkins is set to play Tyson’s trainer Cus D’Amato in Cus and Mike, a new film about Tyson’s meteoric rise, directed by Nick Cassavetes. D’Amato adopted Tyson after the boxer’s mother died and then trained him over the next few years. Both Martin Scorsese and Bruce Willis were both attempting to get a film about D’Amato made in the past, and D’Amato was portrayed by George C. Scott in the HBO movie Tyson.

Deadline has the news about Anthony Hopkins joining the cast of Cus and Mike as Cus D’Amato, Tyson’s legendary trainer. There’s currently a search to find a young actor to play Tyson. D’Amato had previously trained boxers Floyd Patterson and José Torres, but after they both retired, the trainer faded somewhat into obscurity. But that changed with Mike Tyson. D’Amato had opened a gym, the Catskill Boxing Club, which is where he first met the young Tyson, who was in a reform school nearby. After Tyson’s mother died, D’Amato adopted him.

Nick Cassavetes is directing from a script by Desmond Nakano, partially inspired by the book Mike Tyson: Money, Myth, and Betrayal by Montieth Illingworth. The film will hail from Patriot Pictures and producer Michael Mendelsohn. “This is an absolute dream scenario for me,” Cassavetes said. “An opportunity to work with Sir Anthony in a movie about two of my all-time heroes, Cus D’Amato and Mike Tyson, the most ferocious (and my favorite) fighter who ever lived? In a story about father figures that disappear too soon? I’m in heaven. So happy that my first film with Mike Mendelsohn and Patriot Pictures is this one. It should be one for the ages…”

Cus and Mike “will chart how the tough but brilliant D’Amato became a father-figure to the wayward adolescent Tyson who would go on to become the revered fighter and then a figure of controversy.”

Tyson became a boxing sensation when he became the youngest boxer to win a heavyweight title, at 20-years-old. He won his first 19 professional fights by knockout, with 12 of those knockouts coming in the first round. However, Tyson’s personal life was controversial and troubled. He was convicted of rape in 1992, and sentenced to six years in prison. He was released in March of 1995 after serving less than three years of his sentence. After his release, he staged a boxing comeback, but that was problematic as well, ultimately resulting in an incident in 1997 when he bit off a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear.

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