It seems redundant and pointless to talk about how intimidating Mike Tyson is, but I admit that I was nervously excited when Cinematical was offered the opportunity to interview him in conjunction with the release of The Hangover. Having spoken to Tommy Lee Jones, the toughest of tough celebrity interviews, I'd survived gauntlets far more fearsome than dealing with a former heavyweight, especially since I'd recently seen Tyson, which offers a portrait of him at his most reflective, self-aware and lucidly articulate. But I did want to get a good, and more importantly real interview with him, not just lob softballs in his direction and be yet another guy who was too scared to ask a substantive question.
Tyson's cameo in The Hangover is just one great moment in a film with plenty of other ones, but it seems to mean more for him, if not also to him: while the film's $45 million opening-weekend haul means higher paychecks and better roles for co-stars Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis, its visibility and success gives Tyson a sense of humor, and moreover, a humanity that he's never quite achieved on such a significant scale. Cinematical spoke to Tyson on May 17 in Las Vegas, where the former prizefighter discussed what it meant to appear in the movie, looked back on the experience of making Toback's documentary, and talked about what the future holds for him following his recent adventures on the silver screen.