*Focus Features International has picked up worldwide sales on director Julien Temple’s Untitled Marvin Gaye project, starring Jesse L. Martin as the late singer.
Focus will present the title to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival next month, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
With a screenplay by Matthew Broughton, the project will also star Golden Globe nominee Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges, Troy) in the role of Freddy Cousaert, Vicky Krieps (Hanna) as Eugenie and Dwight Henry (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) as the singer’s father.
Frederick Bestall of Auric Entertainment and Jimmy De Brabant from Delux Productions are producing. Grammy Award-winning producer Vassal Benford will executive produce alongside Peter Davy. Vassal will also compose the score.
The film, currently shooting in Luxemburg and Belgium, will focus on the later part of Gaye’s life when he recorded one of his most lauded albums, “Midnight Love,” during an 18-month period in Belgium and his close but turbulent friendship with promoter Cousaert.
“Marvin Gaye is an iconic idol with a bittersweet story spanning success, fame and the torments of addiction,” FFI co-president Alison Thompson said. “With his long established track record in making movies about music and the great musicians who touch us all, Julien and his team are the ideal partners to bring the extraordinary life of Marvin Gaye to audiences around the world.”
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.”
Marvin Gaye III
*Marvin Gaye‘s son and Lenny Kravitz may be childhood friends, but it doesn’t mean the heir wants the rocker playing his father on the big screen.
In fact, Marvin Gaye III and his family members are against the project altogether, according to TMZ.com.
Kravitz will play Gaye in the biopic “Sexual Healing” (working title), which is said to follow the legend’s life in the 80s when he battled drug abuse and depression – up until his father shot and killed him in 1984.
Gaye III tells TMZ “The producers and directors of this film are very wrong and shameful … [They're] trying to do a film about a low period in his life. They don’t even know the whole story.”
Marvin’s son says he and Kravitz were schoolmates and remain friends to this day, so he wants to “talk to him about why he would do this.”
Gaye III says he and other family members are meeting with lawyers to try to stop production, and added, “I would hope [Lenny] doesn’t have any idea that we are against this film being done.”
*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.”