SPC jabs at Toback's Tyson docu

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Sony Pictures Classics is in final negotiations for James Toback's boxing documentary "Tyson," which chronicles the illustrious but often troubled life of former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.

The buy would be one of the most high-profile domestic pickups among the Festival de Cannes premieres. Toback's passion project takes a mostly sympathetic look at the sports legend, interspersing archival footage with a series of interviews Toback conducted. The film is a comprehensive look at Tyson's life, ranging from his formative years with mentor Cus D'Amato to his dominance in the ring to his troubled personal life.

Toback put up funds for the film and had a tentative distribution pact with Yari Film Group but said he purchased the rights shortly before Cannes after disagreements with one of the parties involved in the deal.

The director was determined to leave Cannes with a deal, he said, in order to showcase the film in the early fall festival circuit before a release timed around the November elections.

ICM is repping North American sales of the film. (partialdiff)
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