EXCLUSIVE: In an intriguing Berlin EFM addition, Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins has been set to star in Cus And Mike, the story of Mike Tyson’s legendary trainer Cus D’Amato and how he moulded the fighter into becoming the youngest heavyweight title winner ever and one of the most ferocious boxers of his generation.
The Patriot Pictures film, which is set to be a character study as well as a sports-biopic, will be directed and written by The Notebook and John Q filmmaker Nick Cassavetes, based on the original screenplay by Desmond Nakano, and the book Mike Tyson: Money, Myth, and Betrayal by Montieth Illingworth.
XYZ Films and Patriot are handling world sales at the EFM in Berlin and are aiming to shoot in spring/summer 2020.
The film 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. The search for the young Tyson is underway.
D’Amato, who died in 1985, also trained Floyd Patterson and José Torres. He has long been the source of film interest. Martin Scorsese and Jamie Foxx were trying to thrash out a movie version of the coach-boxer story and Bruce Willis was attached to another biopic. George C. Scott portrayed him in the 1995 HBO movie Tyson.
Five-time Oscar nominee Hopkins is coming off raved-about performances in The Two Popes and Sundance title The Father.
Producing on the film are Michael Mendelsohn (Synchronic) from Patriot Pictures, and Jim Steele (Running With The Devil). Mendelsohn’s Union Patriot Capital Management is fully financing. Natalie Perrotta, and Todd Smith will be executive producing.
Cassavetes said about the film, “This is an absolute dream scenario for me. 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…”
Financier-producer Mendelsohn commented, “Sir Anthony Hopkins – consummate, other worldly professional…a gift. Nick Cassavetes a true boxing film visionary, talented writer/director, and a friend… a dream come true. Thank you, gentleman.”
Hopkins is repped by UTA’s Jeremy Barber and by attorney Mitch Smelkinson of Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher. Nick Cassavetes is repped by WME’s Danny Greenberg and LBI Entertainment’s Chuck Pacheco. Michael Mendelsohn’s Patriot Pictures is represented by Anne Jordan.