Act­ing calls for you to be out­side your­self, to be what you would never want to be and never choose to be, and what you de­spise to be.”


No one can play tough like for­mer world heavy­weight boxing cham­pion Mike Tyson, who wrapped up film­ing Ip Man 3 in China ear­lier this week to build on his suc­cess­ful cameos in The Han­gover tril­ogy.

In the $36-mil­lion fi­nal chap­ter of the tril­ogy about Bruce Lee’s Wing Chun men­tor, the 48-year-old gets to flex his act­ing mus­cle in ‘Chi­na­wood’ by play­ing a shady prop­erty de­vel­oper called Frank.

“I love be­ing the bad guy,” said Tyson, drawing out the sec­ond word with rel­ish be­fore break­ing into a vil­lain­ous laugh. “I’m a good vil­lain — a rogue with a kind heart.”

Nei­ther Ja­son Statham in Fu­ri­ous 7 nor Ving Rhames in Pulp Fic­tion were this con­vinc­ing. Even when Tyson hams it up against the Wolf Pack in self-par­ody, the air of brood­ing men­ace is in­escapable.

“I’m an en­ter­tainer. Well, the in­dus­try says I’m an ac­tor. I’ll be what­ever they want me to be,” Tyson, who was spend­ing 10 days film­ing in Shang­hai, told China Daily on May 15. It was his fourth trip to China.

“When I did The Han­gover, it was such a suc­cess … (I de­cided) this is what I’m go­ing to do now,” he said. “This is my bread and but­ter.”

“Act­ing calls for you to be out­side your­self, to be what you would never want to be and never choose to be, and what you de­spise to be,” he added, dip­ping into the kind of cryptic, dark wa­ters in which he is known to swim.

The Han­gover ( 2009) eclipsed Bev­erly Hills Cop to be­come the sec­ond-most suc­cess­ful R-rated com­edy ever in the United States.

“I’ve got a good mem­ory, so I re­mem­ber my lines. Not that I study. I just re­mem­ber,” said the man known for oblit­er­at­ing his op­po­nents in the ring in the 1980s.

Tyson fa­mously KO’d Michael Spinks in 91 sec­onds while at the height of his pow­ers.

In 1986 he be­came the youngest-ever undis­puted heavy­weight cham­pion of the world at the age of 20 years, four months and 22 days.

He earned a re­ported $300 mil­lion to 400 mil­lion dur­ing his ca­reer, de­clared bank­ruptcy in 2003, and is now said to be worth around $1 mil­lion.

In true icon­o­clas­tic style, he gave the in­ter­view while play­ing Call of Duty: Ad­vanced War­fare at his ho­tel suite in Shang­hai’s Songjiang dis­trict. He ap­peared in good hu­mor and, al­ter­nately, af­fa­ble, cryptic, chummy, pre­oc­cu­pied and gen­tle­man-like.

It was 7am but he and his third wife and agent Lak­iha Spicer had al­ready fin­ished their morn­ing work­outs.

“We got up late to­day. I got up at 4:30am,” said Tyson, whose de­meanor can shift dis­con­cert­ingly in a split-sec­ond from griz­zly bear to teddy bear, and vice-versa.

In per­son, he ap­pears vul­ner­a­ble and danger­ous, be­fud­dled and ra­zor-sharp, all at the same time. From the way he shuf­fles heav­ily around the ho­tel room, it is easy to for­get


Chi­nese kungfu star Don­nie Yen (left), Ip Man 3's main in­vestor Shi Jianx­i­ang (mid­dle) and Mike Tyson meet the press on May 16 at a film stu­dio in Shang­hai, where part of the up­com­ing film about Bruce Lee's teacher is be­ing shot.

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