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Mike Tyson & James Toback about the DVD release of ‘Tyson’

By Zach Arnold | August 11, 2009

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This is a transcript of an interview Mike Tyson & director James Toback did on ESPN News with anchor David Lloyd to promote the upcoming DVD release of ‘Tyson’, which will be released on August 18th. In this interview, Tyson talks about the making of the DVD, his life, and thoughts on his post-boxing career and the current state of boxing.


David Lloyd: “The film is called simply, ‘Tyson’, and it comes out on DVD August 18th. The subject of that movie joins us now, Mike Tyson, along with the writer & director of the film, James Toback. Mike, you sit down, you watch your film about your life, what was the experience like watching ‘Tyson’?”

Mike Tyson: “Well, it wasn’t something that I expected. I didn’t expect to feel so vulnerable there, you know, and it was pretty interesting.”

David Lloyd: “Vulnerable in what way?”

Mike Tyson: “Just exposing myself.”

David Lloyd: “Now James, obviously there’s some challenges in doing a documentary about a figure as polarizing as Mike Tyson. What was the biggest challenge in this project for you?”

James Toback: “To find a style in the editing room. We shot for a week and I edited for a year and it was to take the massive amount of fascinating, exciting, original footage and find a style cinematically to make it not just a talking head movie but a really dramatic film.”

David Lloyd: “Now Mike, you had to open up your life basically to do this film. Were there any disagreements about what went into the project and what did not?”

Mike Tyson: “Well, whatever he asked me I answered the question.”

David Lloyd: “And why did you decide to do that?”

Mike Tyson: “Um, I felt very um safe with Jim and I said, let’s go do it.”

David Lloyd: “I mean it’s an unflinching look at your life, the good times and the bad times, how will people feel about you after watching this film, Mike?”

Mike Tyson: “I have no idea, I just hope pretty positive and enjoy what I have to say.”

David Lloyd: “And there’s some crazy times, some bad times for you, you were always in the news often for negative stories. When you reflect back, what was it like living your life at 100 miles an hour like that?”

Mike Tyson: “Well, I say to myself, what was that all about? What was that all about? You know, what was what was I thinking that allowed me to just tick off like that? What that important? Why does it drive me so much?”

David Lloyd: “Now James, you decided to have Mike do the narration for this entire film. What went into that decision?”

James Toback: “The idea was to do a kind of dramatically uh present-itself portrait, not to do a survey of what everybody thought but to take the complicated extreme and fascinating mind of Mike Tyson and let it in its own way be exposed, be revealed.”

David Lloyd: “Mike, what was that like? You go into, I’m sure an audio booth somewhere, and you start pouring it out. What was that like for you?”

Mike Tyson: “I don’t know, um, it was um it was pretty stimulating feeling.”

David Lloyd: “How so?”

Mike Tyson: “Um because you go through a lot of emotional roller coaster rides and you remember the good times, the bad, none of those people are alive and just and you see some of it, it’s just an interesting life you know.”

David Lloyd: “What was the high point of the ride for you Mike as you look back on those years?”

Mike Tyson: “Ah, man, I don’t know, I had many high points, just like I had many low points.”

David Lloyd: “What was the lowest point for you?”

Mike Tyson: “Man, just um just not caring any more.”

David Lloyd: “And when did that happen?”

Mike Tyson: “Just to have that feeling um over and over you where you just don’t absolutely care anymore, that was um that was a pretty bad low point in my life.”

David Lloyd: “And at what point in your career was that going on?”

Mike Tyson: “Probably the end of my career, my boxing career, but that’s just what it came to.”

David Lloyd: “So, you didn’t care, you basically you took the paydays, you knew you had to keep making money and generating income…”

Mike Tyson: “Well not necessarily that, but just in life in general I didn’t care about anything.”

David Lloyd: “All right.”

James Toback: “One of the things that Mike says in the movie is that he’s the man of extremes and you see in the film visually and dramatically the radical extremes that he was that his life covered from parades in Moscow and a kind of adulation around the world to being in solitary confinement in prison, from great championships to sitting on a stool and humilitation, there have been very few figures in sport or anywhere else who’ve covered the spectrum, the extremes as dramatically as Mike’s life has and it’s all there really in the film.”

David Lloyd: “A fascinating life it has been. James, what did you learn about Mike Tyson? What’s the one thing that you learned about Mike Tyson in doing this project?”

James Toback: “Um, that he overcame fear, that there was always fear at the core of his being and that he was an asthmatic kid, a kid who had trouble breathing, who was bullied and who became this huge domineering figure through an act of ferocious will, dedication, and discipline despite a lot of furies in his soul.”

David Lloyd: “Mike, does he have that just about right?”

Mike Tyson: “Absolutely.”

David Lloyd: “Now, have you been keeping a low profile over the last couple of years? It seems like there aren’t quite as much Mike Tyson stories as there were a few years back.”

Mike Tyson: “Well you know my life has pretty much changed, I’m married, I put a great deal effort more with my kids and I have a different agenda now than when I was younger.”

David Lloyd: “I know you are acting a little bit, saw you in the movie The Hangover this year. What kind of reviews did you get for that role?”

Mike Tyson: “I got five-stars, everything was beautiful, it was positive.”

David Lloyd: “It was a good movie! I liked what I saw out of you Mike! Frankly, you showed great range there.”

Mike Tyson: “Thank you very much.”

David Lloyd: “Absolutely. And I know you are doing some other you are on the TV show The Brothers coming up.”

Mike Tyson: “Yes.”

David Lloyd: “Look at me, I’m promo’ng all your, this is the stuff you’re going to get out, Mike, I’m doing all your work for you here on the promos.”

Mike Tyson: “You’re doing a good job.”

David Lloyd: “Thank you very much.”

Mike Tyson: “Thank you.”

David Lloyd: “What are your thoughts on the heavyweight division in boxing right now? You follow it?”

Mike Tyson: “Yeah, not much, but I can see there’s nothing happening in the heavyweight division. If there was something happening I would know who the champion was.”

David Lloyd: “It seems kind of muddled these days, that’s for sure. Is there one fighter that you would pay to watch these days in any weight class?”

Mike Tyson: “I don’t know, Mayweather, Pacquiao, like those guys.”

David Lloyd: “Hopefully a fight between those two will be coming up.”

Mike Tyson: “That would be a good one.”

David Lloyd: “The DVD coming out is ‘Tyson’, it comes out on August 18th, Mike Tyson the subject, the writer & director is James Toback, gentlemen we do appreciating you joining us on ESPN News. Thank you for your time.”


Topics: Boxing, Media, Zach Arnold | 4 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

4 Responses to “Mike Tyson & James Toback about the DVD release of ‘Tyson’”

  1. Mark says:

    I was flipping through channels last night and saw Mike Tyson cutting the hair of one of the Jonas Brothers on some awards show last night. It was a very surreal visual. He looked like he lost a little bit of weight, but he still has a gut.

  2. ttt says:

    good work zach
    must say the documentary really wasn’t what i was expecting but this clarified somethings

  3. dragomort says:

    Thanks for the transcript!

  4. Fred says:

    Thanks for the transcript, Zach. Interesting read.


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