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Quint goes toe to toe with Mike Tyson!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. There are two types of nerves one can have going into an interview. One is essentially a standard nervousness, wanting to come off well and shape a conversation people might want to read. The other is completely different, one where the nerves comes from the subject him or herself. This was definitely a case of the latter for me. It’s not because Iron Mike Tyson is a helluva brutal fighter, but because I made the mistake of watching a youtube series of clips of him intimidating reporters. I was sure we could have a fine discussion, but I don’t know the man and I didn’t know what would set him off, so the nerves I felt were of the unknown. So, count me shocked when I walked into the Caesar’s Palace conference room to meet Mike Tyson and he seemed more nervous of me than I was of him. He never left his seat, wrung his hands and just overall seemed jittery, especially when I brought out my Digital Audio Recorder. I was the first of only three one on one interviews that Tyson granted. I met his associate, Damon Bingham, producer of James Toback’s documentary TYSON, before the interview and Damon came in to sit with us during the chat, so you can see him pipe up a few times towards the end of the interview. He seemed to act as a calming influence for Tyson and was also a big AICN reader. In case you’re wondering why the interview is running now, some three weeks after THE HANGOVER was released, the reason is I was asked to hold it by Warner Bros out of respect for Tyson’s recent family tragedy. Too soon, as they’d say in the talkback. I’ve recently been okayed to run it, I suppose the incredible legs the film has is a factor in that decision. I will say that my thoughts are with Tyson during this hard time for him and his family. Tyson mentioned that the studio is making a big deal about the movie, that he sees billboards up everywhere for it as I was turning on the recorder. He hadn't seen the movie yet. That's where we start off. Enjoy the chat!

Quint: The studio is pushing the movie. I think they know they have a winner. I got to see it last night and I thought it was really good.

Mike Tyson: Was it good? Between me and you, do you think it was better than OLD SCHOOL?

Quint: Yes.

Mike Tyson: Really?

Quint: Yes. I like OLD SCHOOL a lot…

Mike Tyson: It’s my favorite movie.

Quint: … but there is something about this…

Mike Tyson: It’s fresh, huh?

Quint: It is. It’s very much like how in OLD SCHOOL Will Ferrell was still coming into his own and Vince Vaughn was still really fresh off of SWINGERS. Here you have Zach Galifiankis who is going to explode after people see…

Mike Tyson: This is interesting, because I didn’t know who Zach was. I was a familiar a little bit with the other two guys, but I didn’t know the guy who played Doug, I didn’t know him, but I didn’t know who Zach was and all of my friends… because I don’t do comedies, so all of my friends knew who Zach was. I was like “You know that guy? Who the hell is this guy?” All of my friends new him and I didn’t know who the hell he was. All my friends said “Mike…” Even Jimmy Kimmel said, “Mike, this is the funniest fucking guy!”

Quint: Oh totally and I think this is the movie that’s going to make him big. It’s just that perfect raunchy comedy and he’s just so bizarre and crazy in the film. We just talked to some of the writers and they were saying that originally the origin of the tiger, which is where you come in, they wake up and they have the tiger in their room and we find out that they stole it from you, but they originally wrote it as a Siegfried and Roy joke and when Todd Phillips came on board and he looked at the script, he was just like “That doesn’t make any sense. It’s not intimidating for these guys to go to have stolen a tiger from Siegfried and Roy,” it’s like “who’s the most intimidating person that we can find to set these guys up?”

Mike Tyson: Yeah, that’s funny too, but the crazy thing about it, because my friend has seen this and they don’t know what happens to me and they think “What the hell happened man? Why are they so discombobulated? These guys gone fucked up. What’s wrong with these guys?” I saw the trailer and was like “Where the hell did the baby come from?” I never knew a baby was involved. “Where’d the baby come from?” The guy opens the car door and smacks the baby in the face…

Quint: That’s the comedy of the movie and I think it’s funny on a big level waking up like “Why the hell is there a tiger in our room?” and then even funnier when it comes… Not only is it a tiger, but that they had to steal it. From you.

Mike Tyson: The funny thing about it from the fan’s impression of the trailer. The funny part, when they come back to my place and then I view what they actually did in my house on television and I’m like “Oh man, these guys are animals.”

Quint: That works and I actually really like that they brought you in and it’s not a throwaway cameo, you actually progress the story forward. You give them information that they need. Was that how Todd approached you originally?

Mike Tyson: I don’t know. They just gave me instructions on what to do. I was at their mercy basically.

Quint: Do you think, especially somebody like Zach Galifianakis, do you think that… because you aren’t really playing you I’m assuming, but an image of Mike Tyson.

Mike Tyson: It is only an image of me, that’s right.

Quint: Do you think that your character punching out Galifianakis, do you think that they were intimidated at all about that scene?

Mike Tyson: I don’t know. We had built the rapport, so I guess Zach was pretty comfortable in the role and he had great reflexes as well, so yeah. Really! He had athletic reflexes. He knew his business. He was a pro at what he was doing. I think he’s going to do good in movies.

Quint: I think he’s going to be a big star. Do you think now that forever you are going to be associated with Phil Collins?

Mike Tyson: Yeah. Yeah. Actually, what is it they want me to say at this award show singing that song… Spike Awards… This is crazy.

Quint: They have to bring you back if they do a sequel now. They are going to have to find a way to somehow top Phil Collins.

Mike Tyson: I can’t even express how much enjoyment I had working with Todd Phillips. He’s just a dynamite guy.

Quint: He seems really smart.

Mike Tyson: He is one of those smart guys, but he’s a dynamite guy and he’s a warm guy, too. Know what I mean? He’s just understanding and warm.

Quint: Do you like appearing in movies?

Mike Tyson: I liked doing this one. I really like doing this one.

Quint: Would you consider doing more film work?

Mike Tyson: Sure, but I know things have to be right like they were for this movie. The director has to be similar to Todd, and have to be understanding and compassionate, like knowing what people are going through and considerate of people’s feelings. It was just an honor to work with him. He was really considerate of the long hours and everything.

[Mike’s associate, Damon Bingham, mentions the documentary about Mike]

Quint: The Toback documentary?

Mike Tyson: Did you see it?

Quint: No I haven’t seen it. I didn’t know I was talking to you until two days ago, but how is it?

Mike Tyson: I’ve gotten great reviews from everybody and I was just humbled and in awe of it all. I was just happy that everything went well as far as the reviews are concerned.

Quint: I can’t imagine being the subject of a documentary. It must expose you so much.

Mike Tyson: Yeah, it’s very vulnerable and exposing to you, especially since you are being truthfully honest, because the way that they did it is they kind of tricked me in a way, because I was talking to Jim (Toback) and I knew the film crew was rolling, but I was having a conversation with him. If somebody sees me having a conversation with somebody they can understand (where I’m coming from), but when they showed the film, Jim was muted out and I’m answering these questions and… oh, God! You can imagine, I’m comin’ out answering these and it’s just like I’m volunteering this information, you know? I’m like “Oh God…”

Quint: “No! It was an interview!”

Mike Tyson: Exactly! It’s an interview! This guy is all muted out, but I’m answering all of these questions and you don’t see anyone asking me questions.

Quint: Where it comes across as you bragging. It’s just like “It was part of a conversation!”

Mike Tyson: It makes it seem worse than what it really is when I’m saying something.

Quint: It’s all in context and I think that’s why a lot of people get nervous about doing documentaries and doing that kind of thing, because if you have the filmmakers picking the wrong angle or the wrong context, it can be deadly. It really can ruin reputations and it can ruin your life, because that’s how people will perceive you.

Mike Tyson: Yeah, because you are talking to a friend, but you want the fans to know “This guy asked me this question,” but it comes out like “As a matter of fact…” and I was like “Whoa.” It came out of left field.

Quint: Do you know when the doc is coming out?

Damon Bingham: It’s out now. Where are you based?

Quint: I’m in Austin.

Damon Bingham: Okay, yeah it’s not out in Austin, but I think it will be there in about two or three weeks. It’s rolling out at fifty different markets every week.

Quint: I’ve heard really good things and I’m really sorry I haven’t seen it before talking to you.

Mike Tyson: Hey, don’t worry about it.

Quint: So what is on your plate now? What are you juggling?

Mike Tyson: At this moment I’m just working on this movie with Jaime Foxx and contemplating doing a life story.

Quint: So, in this movie would you be doing another cameo?

Mike Tyson: Naw, he’s gonna portray me. Damon Bingham: We’re talking with him about doing a biopic where Jaime would play Iron Mike.

Quint: That’d be great. I think he’s a good actor.

Mike Tyson: He’ll have to do steroids, lift weights, eat a lot… (laughs)

Quint: Hey, if Will Smith can bulk up for ALI, I’m sure Foxx can make it. Is there any particular angle you would want to go with for a biopic? Would you like to be involved heavily?

Mike Tyson: I’m going to be hands on on the project. I want to know what is it that they want to know. How much do they want everyone to know? A movie can’t portray your whole life, but there are certain issues that I’m sure they want to know and so I just want to find out what it is that they want to know. Damon Bingham: We are still in the planning stages of it, so it’s still very, very early on.

Quint: Are you guys talking to any studios yet?

Damon Bingham: Yeah, we are talking to a few studios. I don’t want to mention which.

Quint: I think they are about to shoo me out. I really do appreciate you guys taking the time.

Hope you guys enjoyed the talk. I’m sure he was on his best behavior, but preconceived impressions of Tyson were smashed to bits. He seemed giddy about being in the movie, a real fan of Todd Phillips and was very gracious. Plus I hear he was really wanting to watch the Lakers game (and did through the other two interviews he did that day), but gave me his full attention. Thanks also to Damon Bingham for helping the interview along. The rest of this weekend will be me getting my Dick Smith Tribute coverage finished up. I’m looking to have that up Monday, so keep an eye peeled, squirts! -Quint Follow Me On Twitter

Readers Talkback
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  • June 20, 2009, 7:10 p.m. CST

    Was it scary?

    by Deathpool

    Cause I'd be fucking frightened.

  • June 20, 2009, 7:10 p.m. CST

    Punch Out!

    by The8thSamurai

    Why didn't you bring up that classic game?

  • June 20, 2009, 7:12 p.m. CST

    Wow. Good interview.

    by Sal_Bando

    And yeah I don't blame ya for being nervous about it, but as you noticed--he was prob. as nervous himself. He seems to get that way.

  • June 20, 2009, 7:13 p.m. CST


    by F-18

    wokka wokka wokka

  • June 20, 2009, 7:15 p.m. CST

    I don't know how to feel about Tyson...

    by Jimbo08lak

    My dad told me he was really taken advantage of as a kid. I just feel bad for him I think.

  • June 20, 2009, 7:16 p.m. CST

    All my gaming friends

    by BillEmic

    still consider Tyson in Punch-Out!! to be one of the hardest video game "bosses" of all time. Too bad they had to change his character to that pussy Mr. Dream in later iterations.

  • June 20, 2009, 7:26 p.m. CST


    by BMacSmith

    and everything was great

  • June 20, 2009, 7:26 p.m. CST

    Tyson's kinda like Michael Jackson for me

    by Mr. Zeddemore

    Tremendous at what he did, but fucked up to an absurd degree - and in turn, made some atrocious life choices. He's an extremely flawed and, at points, dangerous human being.

  • June 20, 2009, 7:33 p.m. CST

    Better count your ears

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    Mike's always 'ongry

  • June 20, 2009, 7:33 p.m. CST


    by lockesbrokenleg

    He said it was better than a Phil Collins song.

  • June 20, 2009, 7:42 p.m. CST

    So, uh, about the sequel and shit...

    by The Dum Guy

    How are they (if they do it) going to explain how they blacked out again? Maybe, they accidently smoke some weed laced with PCP...

  • June 20, 2009, 8:07 p.m. CST


    by HaterofCrap

    the documentary is brilliant.

  • June 20, 2009, 8:07 p.m. CST

    it's "rapport"...not "report"

    by Loosejerk

    I bet Mike is a better transcriber than you....fool.

  • June 20, 2009, 8:27 p.m. CST

    So what do we think of Jamie playin Mike?

    by damiz707

    I just want them to go more realistic and pay people to get hit like in them Tony Jaa movies. I think Jamie can do an excellent job if he puts on 50 lbs.

  • June 20, 2009, 8:31 p.m. CST

    Quint, I take it this was before the tragedy?

    by Cotton McKnight

    I hope he is doing okay now- a tragedy like that changes everything.

  • June 20, 2009, 8:39 p.m. CST

    Mike Tyson uses words like 'discombobulated'????

    by InfiniteRegress

    What. The. Fuck?

  • June 20, 2009, 8:43 p.m. CST

    Looks like he ran his mouth

    by JonRD463

    ...nto BOLIVION!

  • June 20, 2009, 8:58 p.m. CST

    Iron Mike Would Have Been The Greatest Boxer Ever


    If it were not for Don King and Robin Givins. They really ruined him, and it seems like he is only now starting to recover...

  • June 20, 2009, 9:11 p.m. CST

    As good as Old School? HUMmm

    by Cronkit

  • June 20, 2009, 9:26 p.m. CST

    I was scared reading this interview.

    by ClarenceBeaks

    What if Tyson found out who ClarenceBeaks really is? What if he showed up at my door? <p> Sorry, folks. I am out of here.

  • June 20, 2009, 9:35 p.m. CST

    He is a rapist

    by TenThousandBears

    Very sad about his kid, but I don't care what he has to say about anything and it revolts me to see him in this movie. Would it still be a cute cameo if it were Josef Fritzl? I do not wish the man success.

  • June 20, 2009, 9:49 p.m. CST

    coming off of swingers?

    by johnnylawless2

    seven years later!

  • June 20, 2009, 9:54 p.m. CST

    jaime foxx?

    by Bouncy X

    the guy's a good actor no doubt but no amount of working out will make him even remotely tyson's size. i know he wasnt as big either but why not just get whats his name from spawn? he already played tyson before so why not let him do it in an authorized movie.

  • June 20, 2009, 10:24 p.m. CST

    Jaime Foxx is not an Actor..Imitator- Sure

    by Jugdish

    Thats all he did in Ray...Freaking Imitate Ray Charles...and the dumb academy was like.."Wow- here you go"

  • June 20, 2009, 10:29 p.m. CST

    I don't know...

    by wampa 1

    ...but it sure smells good!

  • June 20, 2009, 10:41 p.m. CST

    Nice interview

    by Omar B

    But how about asking a pertinent question like "How you dealing with your daughter's recent death?"

  • June 20, 2009, 10:42 p.m. CST

    that jamie fox thing sounded like a joke

    by Gabbo_the_Great

    he'd have to get someone much bigger. no?

  • June 20, 2009, 10:42 p.m. CST

    the Hangover is one of the best comedies in years.

    by future help

    and comedy is better these last few years. Hard times brings out the best in comedy. AND we are in some mighty tough times here in America. Ass blodd.

  • June 20, 2009, 10:43 p.m. CST

    Ass Blood.

    by future help

    -Kenny Powers friend Stevie.

  • June 20, 2009, 10:48 p.m. CST

    Iron Mike is the man

    by m_reporter

    Condolences to him and his family for their loss.<p> The Hangover is good, but Toback's Tyson is amazing! Can't wait for the Tyson biopic with Foxx, hope it gets green-lit.

  • June 20, 2009, 11:59 p.m. CST

    Shoulda told him he had something on his face

    by axel fff

  • June 21, 2009, midnight CST

    Anyone remember Mike Tyson's Punch Out on Nintendo?

    by axel fff

    How long until we can get a Mike Tyson's Punch Out movie?

  • June 21, 2009, 1:33 a.m. CST

    He is not a rapist

    by Castiel

    you know, the more. i see of him the more i learnof him . the more i think that bitch framed him. yeah thst's right i said it. iron mike has been screwed over by everyone. his documentary is actually something im dying to watch.. the man is a fucking legend. and his cameo is fucking hilarious. <p> feel terribly sorry for mikes recent tragedy. no one should have to go through that.</p> <p>quint. good work buddy. i would have been bricking it as well</p>

  • June 21, 2009, 1:56 a.m. CST

    Old School?

    by Prossor

    I didn't like that movie because it didn't know what it was, was it Animal House? A romcom? A dramedy? It chose all 3 and each ended up shitty in the process.

  • June 21, 2009, 2:30 a.m. CST


    by SnapT

    Please make a MIKE TYSON'S PUNCH OUT! feature film, Hollywood. Thank you.

  • June 21, 2009, 3:13 a.m. CST

    i concur Mr. Zeddemore, I concur.

    by Stalkeye

    Both Mikes had so much potentual, but ultimitely became self parodies.But if ya ask me, molesting lil' boys far outweighs biting some dude's ear off.Ass for the rape allegations, Bullshit!the "victim" attended some black beauty pageant the following day after the so called incident.<p>You have no idea how far an angry sista will go to if she's spurned or doesn't feel appreciated. XD

  • June 21, 2009, 3:48 a.m. CST


    by TenThousandBears

  • June 21, 2009, 4:28 a.m. CST

    You can't hit me! I have five hundred times faster reflexes then

    by The Amazing G

  • June 21, 2009, 4:28 a.m. CST

    Mike Tyson!

    by The Amazing G

  • June 21, 2009, 5:03 a.m. CST

    "hey, it's not Shakespeare"

    by ZombieHeathLedger

    Though I'd LOVE to see Iron Mike as Hamlet, (in his squeeky voice) "To wee or not to wee, dat is the qwestion." Of course I'd never make that joke to his face because he'd bite my ear off. I feel awful for him tho about losing his daughter. No parent should have to go thru what that guy has. He was a great boxing Champion at his zenith.

  • June 21, 2009, 5:37 a.m. CST

    Well said Castiel

    by MontyPigeon

    After watching the documentary I come to the same conclusion. The question is "Who didn't use Tyson after Cus D'amato died?" Parasites all of them.

  • June 21, 2009, 5:53 a.m. CST

    I am no Tyson fan but

    by optimus122

    That girl was looking for a payday..He didn't rape her , she got mad because when they were done he basically through her out of his room and made his driver take her home..she got to thinking about money and p00f he was in jail. She went up to Mike Tysons hotel room at 2 in the morning..what did she think was going to occur there?

  • June 21, 2009, 8:14 a.m. CST

    Good thing you didn't sent a woman to interview him

    by BoyNamedSue

    Tyson would have asked to fornicate with her.

  • June 21, 2009, 8:49 a.m. CST

    I saw the documentary

    by Verbage

    Rent it, don't watch it in the theaters. It's pretty dull. And I totally see what he's saying about them doing an interview and muting the interviewer out to make it seem like he's boasting or saying weird shit. The first 10 minutes is just Mike sitting in a chair talking to the camera about himself, and some of the things he says are bizarre. It's messed up that they would do that to him just to try to make this snoozefest seem more interesting. Most of what's in the documentary you guys probably already know.

  • June 21, 2009, 10:41 a.m. CST

    "Stop looking at my ear, Mike!"

    by JohnRyder

    You should have made that joke, Quint.

  • June 21, 2009, 10:54 a.m. CST

    Quint did he threatend to fuck you and ..

    by Stalkeye

    ..make you love him? (Anyone who has seen that press conference may know what I'm talking about.)

  • June 21, 2009, 11:26 a.m. CST

    You should have asked him what it was like...

    by mraig

    When he beat Super Macho Man and obtained the World Video Boxing League Title--and whether it was humiliating to then be challenged by a little guy that was like 1/3 his height and did all his training by jogging in a pink sweatsuit with a fat guy on a bike.

  • June 21, 2009, 1:10 p.m. CST

    To understand Tyson you must watch his Doc 'Tyson'

    by Orionsangels

  • June 21, 2009, 1:44 p.m. CST

    A myth about Tyson once being the greatest

    by romanocc

    I grew up exactly when Mike Tyson was tearing up the Heavyweight division, as I followed his career when he fighting on HBO & ABC in 1986, before he was champ. Mike Tyson was a great Knockout Puncher, probably one of the greatest ever to live, and had that edge because the fighter was literally intimidated by him. Once Buster Douglas stood up to him, and exposed him with a great jab, Tyson was never the same boxer. If he couldn't knock you out, then he wasn't going to beat you on points, and taller boxers learned from Douglas and just jabbed the hell out of Tyson (Holyfield twice), frustated him, and then eventually knocked him out and exposing him as a one-punch boxer. I used to be the biggest Tyson defender in the late 80's, as I thought he would go 100-0 and be the greatest. But he turned out to be a laughing stock, and WAY overrated as a boxer, and should never be considered one of the greats. Tyson was a fraud.

  • June 21, 2009, 6:25 p.m. CST

    romanocc, I respectfully disagree

    by Verbage

    Buster Douglas may have won against Tyson, but you'd have to be out of your mind to think that Douglas was a better boxer than Tyson. Tyson was unprepared for the match. After going undefeated for so long he got sloppy and didn't train for the Douglas fight, and he lost. If there had been a rematch, Tyson would have annihilated him, but thanks to some poor dealings with Don King, the fight never happened. <p> Tyson was an extremely sensitive individual, and as his career progressed and his personal life began failing, it affected him greatly. After he lost his father figure trainer, and was stabbed in the back by almost everyone else he was close to, he began to crumble. But that doesn't change the fact that Mike was one of the greatest.

  • June 21, 2009, 6:56 p.m. CST


    by Darth Thoth

    Mike is the man. Tyson was the best movie I've seen all year. Great work Quint!

  • June 21, 2009, 11:13 p.m. CST


    by uberman

    I wish you and your family peace. Dont know what else to say to someone who loses a child. O cannot imagine, so, I just want to say I want nothing but the best for the Tyson family. Peace.

  • June 21, 2009, 11:35 p.m. CST

    Tyson has let himself go so badly...

    by BigTuna

    In the! The guys' gut was 5 feet infront of him, and he looks a decade older than his actual age. Another sad old boxer.

  • June 22, 2009, 12:09 a.m. CST

    Mike Tyson reminds of The Hulk...

    by TheGhostWhoLurks

    A big, scary guy who's done some very scary things in the past (and capable of still doing them), but who seems not only nice, but quite a decent guy, if he's not being screwed with by manipulative scumbags.<p>I actually kind of like him, feel sorry for him and hope that he continues to be surrounded by positive influences, because you REALLY wouldn't like him when he's angry... :O

  • June 22, 2009, 1:28 a.m. CST

    You're right everybody, he is a sweetheart

    by TenThousandBears

    There was no rape, the jury was just insane and probably all women. And his lawyer was asleep and also drunk, so he couldn't appeal. Heh, and remember the time he assaulted those two elderly men after a minor traffic accident? Kicked that apologetic 62 year olds ASS! Iron Mike laying the hammer down! Good times man, good times.

  • June 22, 2009, 8:47 a.m. CST

    Tyson bio mixed in with....

    by Sparhawk38

    Transformers. Now THAT'S a movie I would watch. Iron Mike facing giant robots...with ears. BOOyah! Transformers sux. I haven't seen it...but you know it is true. All of that money they used to make it could have gone to lower the deficit or build a children's hospital. Nope...instead they find the most expensive way to steal a couple of hours of your life that you will never get back.

  • June 22, 2009, 8:50 a.m. CST

    The myth about Tyson being just a puncher

    by Thunderbolt Ross

    MIke Tyson in his early days actually could box. After the Michael Spinks fight, he got rid of his trainer Kevin Rooney who was his connection to the guy who taught him to fight (and adopted him) Cus D'Amato.<i>In later fights they'd occasionally have Rooney commenting with the announcers and he was always very critical that Tyson wasn't moving his head, wasn't using his jab, etc - wasn't really boxing. And that ended up costing him. <p>Tyson was protected early on as far as opponents go, but he did win some decisions. And never really had a chance to be the greatest because his career began to go off the rails at age 21.

  • June 22, 2009, 11:44 a.m. CST

    Wow, that interview seemed so incredibly artificial.

    by MMacKK

  • June 22, 2009, 3:59 p.m. CST

    hi, my name

    by idrinkyourmilkshake

    is tike myson. best watch out

  • June 22, 2009, 6:14 p.m. CST

    If Quint actually went toe to toe with Tyson

    by Prossor

    I'm imagining his head being smashed through a wall from a punch.

  • June 23, 2009, 7:46 a.m. CST


    by radruss001

    Nice to have done your homework before this interview. Bah!

  • June 23, 2009, 9:55 a.m. CST

    Why no amazing sound-o-text?

    by ltgalloway

    Oh well, we can't have it all I guess. I'm sure people (like me) would get hung up on his voice and miss the message, so, probably for the best. Seemed like and interesting and genuine guy.