The world is diving into the complexities that make up one of the most polarizing figures in sports history through Hulu’s Mike starring Trevante Rhodes and Russell Hornsby.
“It was a privilege to exist in that way. And to feel those things,” Rhodes said to Shadow and Act. Besides an occasional sore or two from working out, he was able to fully immerse himself into the Tyson that was introduced to the world and quickly became one of the most sought-out figures in the nation.
As a kid of the ’90s, which is also considered to be Tyson’s prime, Rhodes reflected on his earliest memory of the heavyweight champ.
"It's a presence thing, an energy thing. I came up with Mike Tyson, Mike Jackson, [and] Mike Jordan. You wanted to be those," he added.
“So it was just an energy thing. You kind of take that and implement that into your life and try to be the best version of yourself by utilizing those perspectives.”
A person like Mike Tyson was not built overnight, he had help along the way… even through people who didn’t always have his best interest at heart. Hornsby’s character, Don King, helps to paint a picture of the nuances that came with relationships encountered by the boxing sensation throughout the course of his career.
“For Don and his relationship to Mike, it’s almost like, you might ask yourself, ‘Who can I trust? Who can I really trust? Where can I run to? Where is that? Where’s my safety net?'” he explained. “You know where is that bosom that I can sort of lean on and find some grace? Relationships sour, and so I think that Don is just doing what he knows best to do.”
From Moonlight to The United States vs. Billie Holiday and beyond, Rhodes always finds a way to make the characters he portrays personal to who he is as a person.
"I think it's [the] intention" he explained. "I just kind of actually, and it's probably not the best, I'm really just stubborn...I just do what I want to do."
Despite the world’s perception of Mike Tyson, both Rhodes and Hornsby reveal how being a part of this project, helped them learn more about who he is as a person and not just the larger-than-life persona that the media has portrayed him to be throughout the years.
“There’s a saying that says, ‘When you’re dealing with stars, or you’re dealing with celebrities, the audience gets the most and your family gets the rest,'” said Hornsby. “And I felt like, from what I saw, or learned, is that everybody took their pound of flesh. You know what I mean? And then you ask yourself, ‘What was he?’ or ‘What was his family left with?’ It seemed like to me, over the last five or so years, we’re getting to know this newer Mike Tyson and he’s taking ownership of himself again. His signature was forged, and it was signed over to somebody else and it was extracted from his spirit, but now he’s taking that back and we’re getting to know what Mike Tyson is at his essence, at his core.”
That same spirit is what Rhodes walked away with.
"It's the bravado and the energy, but for me, it was understanding the beautiful little boy that's behind the bravado," he expressed.
“Because I think when you don’t understand that, you do misunderstand, you do misinterpret, what you’re looking at,” Rhodes continued. “You know, and being a little Black boy [myself] obviously I could relate. So that’s what I learned, I related in many more ways than i thought I did because of the beautiful spirit that he has.”
The first two episodes of the 8-episode limited series Mike are now available for streaming on Hulu.