Mike Tyson Had No Idea He Was Going To Be in ‘The Hangover’ 2 Weeks Before Filming

Mike Tyson has had a tumultuous life. After becoming the youngest world heavyweight champion ever, the retired boxer went down a destructive path that landed him in prison and caused him to burn through approximately $685 million in career earnings. 

By the time that Tyson was preparing to make an appearance in the hit 2009 film The Hangover, he had developed a cocaine addiction and gained a significant amount of weight. He was spending a lot of his time hanging out in Las Vegas clubs and many considered his brightest days to be behind him.

Tyson himself was so disengaged from his life that two weeks prior to filming, he had no idea he was even going to be in the movie. 

Mike Tyson had no clue he was going to be in ‘The Hangover’

(L-R) Actor Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, actress Heather Graham, former boxer Mike Tyson and actor Bradley Cooper at the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards
(L-R) Actor Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, actor Heather Graham, former boxer Mike Tyson and actor Bradley Cooper at the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards | VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

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Tyson recalled his experience working on The Hangover during a 2020 interview with Eminem on his Hotboxin’ podcast.  

“When I did The Hangover, I didn’t know,” Tyson said. “I went to the club, and you know the clubs in Vegas, they let me in all the private [places]. So when I went in this private spot … I saw one of the Olsen twins with these guys … The bodyguard let me in …”

After entering the club, a random guy came up to Tyson and told him he was going to be in The Hangover, a movie he was working on. Tyson, who was completely inebriated, had no idea he was going to be in the film. 

“We’re chilling and stuff, we’re coked up and we’re drinking, and then they look at me and somebody comes over and they say, ‘Hey, we’re doing a movie with you in two weeks. We’re doing a movie with you.’ I said, ‘When.’ He said, ‘In two weeks.’ I said, ‘F*ck, I didn’t know that.’”

Mike Tyson was high on cocaine throughout the filming of ‘The Hangover’

Tyson’s drug use didn’t stop when he got on the Hangover set. In fact, he admitted to being high on cocaine throughout the entirety of filming during a separate interview with Graham Bensinger

“They had to know I was messed up because I couldn’t even talk. I had the cocaine talk, when the nose [holds nose and grunts],” Tyson said. “Those guys are just beautiful people, they had my back. I appreciate that.”

He and his friends realized ‘The Hangover’ would turn his life around 

Tyson also admitted in the Hotboxin’ interview that he wasn’t very enthusiastic about working on The Hangover and had very low expectations of the movie. 

“I’m on this movie, I’m doing this set, and stuff, and I’m—I’m just a mess back then,” Tyson said. “So I do this movie, and I don’t think this movie is sh*t. I’m high all the time.”

However, after filming was completed, Tyson and his friends realized that The Hangover could potentially restart his career as an entertainer. 

“And then I’m in a restaurant. I come out the restaurant, you see one of those buses, you know the tour bus. They see me, they must have went to the movie and saw the preview because the movie wasn’t out yet. And then when they saw me … They all got off the bus and said, ‘We love you! We saw you in the movie!’ And then my friends … they say, ‘We’ve got something here, we’re back.’ And then that’s been a wrap ever since.”

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.