John Boyega, whose debut performance as an alien-battling gangsta in Attack The Block arguably made him the antihero of the summer, has landed the lead in Da Brick, the Doug Ellin-produced, Spike Lee-directed HBO drama that’s set in the mean streets of Newark, where you could get shot just for using a proper definite article. Boyega will play Donnie, a young up-and-coming boxer fresh out of juvenile detention—a role that, as previously reported, is loosely based around the early life of Mike Tyson, much as Ellin’s Entourage was based around the wholly imaginary life of Mark Wahlberg.

But rather than hewing too closely to Tyson’s own experiences, with all the pigeons and fights about his lisp and whatnot, the show is described as a larger “contemporary exploration of what it means to be a young, black man in a supposedly post-racial America.” To that end, it’s brought in a veteran of a similarly themed series, The Wire’s Julito McCullum, as the best friend of Boyega’s character, playing “the one person [Donnie] can't leave behind, no matter how much he may want to.” But Donnie, if you don’t leave your ne’er-do-well friends behind, you’ll never grow up to enjoy the stable, respectable life of Mike Tyson.

Advertisement