*Tika Sumpter, currently starring on OWN’s “Tyler Perry’s The Haves and Have Nots,” has joined the cast of Universal’s James Brown biopic “Get On Up,” reports Deadline.com.
She will play Yvonne Fair, a singer in the James Brown Revue who recorded Brown’s “I Found You,” which later was reworked into his classic “I Got You (I Feel Good).”
Tate Taylor is directing the pic, which stars Chadwick Boseman as the Godfather of Soul along with Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Nelsan Ellis.
Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth and Steven Baigelman wrote the script, and Brian Grazer and Mick Jagger are producing along with Victoria Pearman and Erica Huggins.
Sumpter will next be seen in the feature “Ride Along.”
*Nelsan Ellis has been set to play Bobby Byrd, James Brown’s longtime friend and musical collaborator in the Tate Taylor-directed “Get On Up” for Imagine Entertainment and Universal Pictures.
Imagine’s Brian Grazer is producing with Jagged Films’ Mick Jagger.
It’s a big role in the film behind Brown, who’s being played by Chadwick Boseman. As previously reported, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer also star.
Ellis is best known for playing Lafayette on the HBO vampire series “True Blood.” He was last seen on screen playing Martin Luther King Jr. in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and his screen credits include “The Express,” “The Soloist,” “Secretariat,” and “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.”
Universal will start production November in Mississippi.
*“The Help” director Tate Taylor might be putting together an on screen reunion for the James Brown movie with Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Nelsan Ellis being considered for supporting roles alongside Chadwick Boseman, according to TheWrap.
No official offers have been made yet according to a studio insider, and none of the stars’ representatives have responded to requests for comment.
Boseman will be following up his breakout performance as Jackie Robinson in “42,” with another huge role as the Godfather of Soul. With the actor in place, after years of waiting for the go-ahead, the project has finally received a green light.
Boseman will portray Brown over a period of several decades, from his disadvantaged youth to his status as a bonafide music icon.
The project will be produced by Brian Grazer and Eric Huggins under Imagine Entertainment; and Mick Jagger and Victoria Pearman will produce under their Jagged Films banner. Taylor will also produce via his Wyolah Films and John Norris will executive produce.
Jagger will also be depicted as a character in the film; along with his Rolling Stones bandmate Keith Richards, their fellow musician Little Richard and Syd Nathan, the founder of Kings Records.
As we reported earlier, Taylor and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant announced that the majority of the James Brown film will be shot in the state.
*Actor Nelsan Ellis will go from a possessed gay Louisiana cook in HBO’s “True Blood” to the prince of peace on the big screen.
Director Lee Daniels has tapped the star to play Martin Luther King Jr. in “The Butler,” reports Deadline.com.
Mariah Carey and Yaya DaCosta (“America’s Next Top Model”) have also recently joined the cast, which includes Forest Whitaker, David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Lenny Kravitz, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, John Cusack, Robin Williams, Liam Neeson, Minka Kelly, Alex Pettyfer, Colman Dingo, Vanessa Redgrave, James Marsden and Liev Schreiber in the cast.
As previously reported, the film is based on the true story of Eugene Allen, the late White House butler who served eight presidents during his tenure from 1952 to 1986.
Quincy Jones has been lined up to score the film.
In addition to playing Lafayette Reynolds in “True Blood,” Ellis most recently completed “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” and “Gods Behaving Badly.” He’s also directing the documentary “Damn Wonderful.”
According to Nelsan Ellis, who plays the role of Lafayette in the series, viewers may be unhappy.
“People are going to be [upset] because they’re going to have to wait like seven months before they figure out what materializes after this finale,” he revealed. “No finale in the history of ‘True Blood’ has been worse than this one in terms of the cliffhangers.”
Despite what he believes the fans will think, he also commented that this may be the best finale yet.
He said, “The finale turns Bon Temps upside down … Lafayette and Jesus are directly in the middle of it, and it doesn’t end well.”
Titled “And When I Die”, the season 4 finale will see Marnie’s newest incarnation during Samhain which is Wicca’s greatest holy day when spirits of the dead surface in Bon Temps. The rising dead, however, will give Sookie valuable allies to combat Marnie.