VIBE: Morning, Mike… Our time with you is short, but it's a pleasure to chat with you. Your prowess and skills have been respected since forever, man.
Mike Tyson: Man, thank you… I'm so happy to talk to black people from a black organization like VIBE Magazine. I don't really talk to too many, actually, but I truly love all that stuff. I used to love talking to them.
VIBE: Your role in Scary Movie 5 is a cameo. How were you approached to do the role and what did you enjoy about filming?
MT: In the movie, I'm playing me. Jerry O'Connell is a great guy in real life, but he's really pervy with me in Scary Movie 5. I don't like it, obviously, and I have to clock him in the face as hard as possible. It seems that when people saw me punch Ed Helms in The Hangover movie, it was some kind of "big stuff," and now everybody is trying to piggyback off that in their film.
VIBE: Did you find it liberating to smack around the kid from Stand By Me?
MT: No, nah, not actually… In particular, I don't like portraying the role of violence or a violent person, especially when I'm supposed to be playing myself. It makes me feel pervasive of my life, of my past, and I really don't like doing that unless I was portraying another character. It is liberating to play another role. It is interesting that you said that, though, because when I play myself and some violent role comes up, or some hostile role comes up, I just become inverted when it comes to playing that type of persona.
VIBE: A personal favorite that you appeared in was the 1999 film, Black and White, which starred Robert Downey Jr., Jared Leto, yourself, members of The Wu-Tang Clan, and others…
MT: [Laughs] Hey!!! I get so many compliments about that movie. Much like when I was in The Hangover—people always talk to me. The older people really like rapping with me about the film. They say, "Wow, that was an amazing movie!" I will go to film festivals and that's all I hear… Black and White, Black and White. That film was so wicked! The experience was just so dope. I recall the director, James Toback, telling me, "Mike, you gotta really fucking hit Bobby [Robert Downey, Jr.]" I say, "What?!" He's telling me, "Yeah, Mike, you gotta make this real, man! You gotta really hit Bobby!" I'm not even getting paid for this stuff, y'know? I'm doing this role as a favor for a friend.
I was just hanging out one day, y'know? I had no idea I was going to be in a movie that would go on to be a cult classic. I was improvising, talking with Power [Wu-Tang's Oliver Grant] about philosophy. Next thing you know, James was like, "I need you to be in this scene with Robert and Brooke [Shields], and I need you to hit Robert really hard." I wasn't going to do it. Robert, he's such a good guy, he tells me that he understands my hesitation, but he's an experienced actor and he can take it. So, I go into the scene and I just hit the guy—boom—and Rob hits the floor. He's down there kicking me, saying, "Don't hit me no more, stop hitting me." [Laughs] I'm just like, "But they told me to hit you…"
VIBE: That was a chance for America to see you more than the "Iron Mike" persona. They got to see you drop jewels, stand up for yourself as a man, and dig at the system that traps so many young Black men. Can you speak on what your philosophy is now? Is there any new perspective that America should know from you?
MT: No, nah, not really… My life is all about releasing myself; freeing myself of guilt, of negativity, of all that bad stuff. I just want to love and love life, man. It's not about stress at all! We only have one life to live and we need to live it good spiritually and emotionally. No longer can man continue to beat themselves up about any kind of guilt or greed. We have to live within ourselves with free minds. I always had the ability to have a good peace; the ability to free my mind; and I just want to continue to hone that focus on myself and wanting to accomplish a peace that all can enjoy and take part in.