S. Epatha Merkerson attending the LAByrinth Theater Company Celebrity Charades 2013 Benefit Gala at Capitale in New York City.
(January 14, 2013)
*It will be a “Law & Order” reunion in the upcoming Marvin Gaye biopic.
S. Epatha Merkerson, who starred as Lt. Anita van Buren on the NBC drama from 1991-2010, has signed on to play Alberta, the mother of the late singer portrayed in the film by Jesse L. Martin.
Martin played Detective Ed Green on “Law & Order” from 1999-2008.
Earlier this month, Martin replaced Lenny Kravitz in the Julien Temple-directed movie. Martin originally had been attached to play the late singer in a version produced by James Gandolfini — who also had plans to co-star as music promoter Freddy Cousaert — in 2008.
After the project stalled, Kravitz signed on for the lead role in the movie in November, but Gaye’s son Marvin Gaye III voiced his objections to the project, which was said to focus on Gaye’s life in the ’80s when he battled drug abuse and depression. The film now begins with the singer’s attempt to get his career back on track with the help of Cousaert, now being played by Brendan Gleeson.
The project, being produced by Vassal Benton and Fred Bestall, is set to start filming in late March.
Merkerson, meanwhile, is currently recurring on NBC’s Meagan Good drama “Deception” and has recently appeared CBS’ “The Good Wife.”
*The Marvin Gaye biopic is on a roll now.
But Jesse L. Martin has replaced Lenny Kravitz, probably a more suitable match.
RELATED: Marvin Gaye Story Hits the Stage … In Spite of Ish/Drama from ‘The Other Side’ (Part I)
He’ll play the starring role in the Julien Temple produced, “Sexual Healing.”
According to Deadline, the film focuses on the time Gaye spent in Europe in the early 1980s, when the soul singer attempted to get his addictions under control and career back on track with the help of British music promoter Freddy Cousaert (Gleason). Gaye was shot by his father and died in Los Angeles on April 1, 1984.
Martin was Marvin in the James Gandolfini version of a movie with the same title five years ago.
The decision to replace Lenny was actually a legal move. Marvin Gaye III, the late singer’s son, threatened legal action against the filmmakers.
*Lenny Kravitz is set to portray music icon Marvin Gaye in director Julien Temple’s upcoming biopic about the late artist.
This will be Kravitz’s first leading role after having appeared in several other features, including “The Hunger Games” and “Precious.”
The Evening Standard is reporting that Lenny will relive the last few years of Gaye’s life in the film, covering his alcohol addiction and tax evasion while he lived in London in the early 1980s.
Marvin battled against his drug dependency after moving to Ostend, Belgium, but was shot by his own father shortly afterwards in Los Angeles in March 1984 after they argued about misplaced business documents.
Janis Gaye, the singer’s second and last wife, is said to be ”very skeptical” about how the project will turn out.
Julien Temple is best known for helming the Sex Pistols mockumentary “The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle.”
*Jesse L. Martin fears his plans to produce and star in a biopic about music icon Marvin Gaye are not meant to be – because it’s proving “impossible” to bring to fruition.
The former “Law & Order” star has been attached to the film “Sexual Healing” since 2008, when he signed on to help The Sopranos’ James Gandolfini bring the singer’s life story, adapted from Steven Turner’s book Trouble Man, to the big screen.
Director Julien Temple took charge of the movie in February, following previous filmmakers Cameron Crowe and F. Gary Gray, but the project has been hit by a series of problems and delays due to difficulties clearing the rights to Gaye’s music.
And Martin admits he’s no longer holding out for the role.
He tells WENN, “(Making the film is) impossible. It’s just not… I don’t know (if it’ll happen). I mean, I just sort of threw that one up to the universe and said, ‘If it’s meant to be, it’ll be’, but it seems impossible to put together, it really does. It just hasn’t happened.”
“Sexual Healing” is just one of several Gaye biopics in the pipeline, but Martin insists all of the films have faced the same licensing issues and he’s now contemplating other ways to tell the story.
He says, “There’s five or six (other Gaye projects) in the works. I actually feel less pressure. There’s so many stories out there trying to happen that it just seems like it might be impossible. Nobody’s done it yet. We haven’t done it, nobody else has either, so there seems to be a reason you haven’t seen that story on the big screen yet. I don’t know what it is, but we’re gonna have to change tactics and do it on stage, or something like that. That would actually be a great idea! So we’ll see, we’ll see.”
*Filmmaker Julien Temple (“The Filth and the Fury”) is reportedly near a deal to direct “Sexual Healing,” the forthcoming biopic about Marvin Gaye from Banana Films.
According to Screen Daily, the story will follow the recording of the “Sexual Healing” single, a time when Gaye was struggling with drugs, living in Brussels and considered long past his prime. With the help of Belgian promoter Freddy Cousaert, Gaye launched a successful comeback.
Temple’s film is also said to be close to signing an agreement with EMI, which holds the rights to Gaye’s music, something that will be crucial if the film is to be made at all.