Mike Tyson’s life story has already been the subject of both the sobering James Toback documentary Tyson and the equally sobering video game Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. Now director Spike Lee and Entourage creator Doug Ellin are teaming up to create an HBO series loosely based around Tyson’s early days, back when he was just a young, hungry boxer, before he became bloated on a diet of Pepsi endorsements and ears. Titled Da Brick, the show would be set in modern-day Newark, New Jersey and provide “a contemporary exploration of what it means to be a young, black man in supposedly post-racial America,” much like Entourage does right now.
All kidding aside, Ellin’s participation appears to be mostly hands-off: Lee will direct the pilot, John Ridley will write the script, and even though it’s being described as the unholy hybrid of “Entourage meets The Wire,” that‘s just an unnecessarily rankling way of saying they’d like it to be gritty and dramatic and concern a guy who’s trying to become famous while being dragged down by his crew. They probably also could have called it “The Sopranos meets The Fighter” or something, but then Mark Wahlberg’s name may have magically popped up in the production credits. Anyway, here’s hoping the allowances afforded by HBO (i.e. violence and cursing) give this idea a head start over, say, Lights Out, because there’s a lot of promise here.