Spike Lee to Direct DA BRICK, a New HBO Series Based on Mike Tyson’s Youth

     June 21, 2011


Back in 2010, Mike Tyson appeared in a guest role on Entourage.  Apparently, while on set, Tyson and series creator Doug Ellin had a conversation.  Ellin said that during the conversation, “Mike asked me, why don’t do with my life what we did with Mark’s life?”

According to Deadline, instead of taking the suggestion as a joke, Ellin instead set about crafting a dramatic series around Mike Tyson’s experience growing up as a boxer in an urban environment.  After developing the project with his production partner, Jim Lefkowitz, Ellin passed writing duties to John Ridley who then convinced Spike Lee to direct the project.

Hit the jump to read more about the series, titled Da Brick.

doug-ellin-imageThough the series is still in development, HBO appears to be ready to put its weight behind it, issuing a casting call for young black actors who can box.  The network’s apparent excitement over the series isn’t surprising.  Both Ellin and Spike are in good graces with the network (Ellin for the aforementioned Entourage and Lee for a pair of documentary projects based around New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: When the Levees Broke and If God is Willing and da Creek Don’t Rise).  All of the players involved in the series development — Ellin, Lefkowitz, Ridley, Lee, and Tyson — as well as Tyson’s current wife, and Azim Spicer are all slated as producers on the eventual show.

While Tyson has recently been seen in comedic cameos (The Hangover), the idea of a drama set around his life could make for some compelling television.  After watching the doc Tyson, I have to say that Tyson’s account of his own teen years was intriguing and could make for a great TV show, especially when the project is infused with Spike Lee’s talent and HBO’s dedication to making great television series.

Da Brick is going to be set in current-day Newark, New Jersey and is described as “a contemporary exploration of what it means to be a young, black man in supposedly post-racial America and is loosely inspired by aspects of Mike Tyson’s youth.”