Johnny Tapia Documentary
His life was nothing if not cinematic.
There had been talk about über-producer Jerry Bruckheimer turning Johnny Tapia’s wild and crazy life into a biopic. Johnny’s story, with its disturbing lows and exhilarating highs, in many ways seemed ready-made for Hollywood. It had a distinctive narrative arc, and until his death a year ago at the age of 45, which was shocking and not surprising at the same time, his tale was one of redemption, thanks to boxing and love of a good woman.
That project, however promising it might have been, may have been shelved in light of what transpired. There’s no business like show business and a handshake isn’t worth the paper it’s not written on. So it’s fair to assume that motion picture is on ice, perhaps for all time, because the Dream Factory loves happy endings.
But fear not.
50 Cent, who has proven himself to be a jack of all trades, has joined forces with another jack of all trades, Lou DiBella, to co-produce a documentary called “Tapia,” which will have its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 15.
Those of us in boxing know Tapia’s story like we know the back of our hand. But those of us in boxing are outnumbered by those not in boxing, and we can assume the film is as much for them as it is for posterity.
50’s Cheetah Vision Films and DiBella’s BK Blu Productions will examine Tapia’s life, including the kidnapping, rape and murder of his mother, his amazing achievements in the ring, the drugs and arrests, followed by more drugs and more arrests, and the many times he was declared legally dead before miraculously returning to life, until the miracles were no more.
Among those interviewed in the documentary are Mike Tyson, Freddie Roach, and Johnny’s widow Teresa.
“I was drawn to the intensity of this project,” said 50 Cent. “His story resonated with me because like Tapia, I too lost my mother to violence and grew up with limited means. It’s a heartfelt story and it was important for me to get involved with bringing this to a broader audience.”
Tapia’s story is lurid. It is also touchingly human. Frailty is part of existence. So is the urge to forge ahead. Johnny Tapia, as beloved as he was bedeviled, had it all…and then some.