'Mike' Star Russell Hornsby Explains Why He Wanted to Play Don King (Exclusive)

The Hulu limited series Mike is now streaming, and fans will get an in-depth look at how Mike Tyson was in and out of the boxing ring. One of the most important people in Tyson's life is Don King, a promoter who oversaw Tyson's rise and downfall. In the series veteran actor, Russell Hornsby plays King, who explained to PopCulture.com in an exclusive interview why he wanted to take on a well-known figure in sports.

"I'm an actor. So, I love a challenge," Hornsby exclusively told PopCulture. "I believe in my talent. I believe in my ability. And, so if you believe in yourself, as I do you, you want the greatest challenges possible to prove to yourself and others that you are indeed the genuine article. And, I believe only in the last few years, have I really been given the opportunity to display certain aspects of my talent. And, this being one of those opportunities.  And, so I welcomed it. And, as I said before, not having the huge prep window, you really got to put your money where your mouth is."

King was right by Tyson when he was the heavyweight champion of the world in the late 1980s. But the 91-year-old gained attention for promoting "The Rumble in the Jungle" a fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali in 1974. King also promoted the "Thrilla in Manila," a fight between Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975. 

In Mike, King is portrayed as a person who's always in Tyson's ear and telling him that he's the only one looking out for his best interest. But Tyson realizes that King is all about making money, and Hornsby captures King's greed in a strong performance. "For me, the biggest challenge was trying to find the human side of who Don King is in such a short window," Hornsby said. "As an actor, you'd like to have as much prep time as possible to absorb as much as you can and then be able to forget about it. And, then you have just as much... You've absorbed everything. But, it was just really the challenge of trying to find an honest, true, human depiction of who Don is. 

"We know him as the carnival barker... The man of many faces and a thousand words. But, who's behind that because I feel like in order to show the bigness of him, you have to understand the human side of him. And, I believe we get an opportunity to see that." New episodes of Mike premiere on Hulu every Thursday.