Focus Features International is shopping an as-yet-untitled Marvin Gaye biopic at May’s Cannes Film Festival. Law & Order’s Jesse L. Martin will star as the legendary soul singer. The film chronicles the recording of “Midnight Love,” one of his most acclaimed albums. Gaye was suffering from financial and career difficulties, as well as alcoholism. He thought his career might be over, but he would go on to write signature hit “Sexual Healing.” It also takes on his friendship with promoter Freddy Cousaert, with Brendan Gleeson (“Troy”) taking on that role.
The movie has been discussed for a while, with Lenny Kravitz cast initially. Marvin Gaye III objected to the movie and the casting of Kravitz, and threatened legal action to stop the movie. The late singer’s son went to school with Kravitz and apparently reached out personally to ask him not to do this.
Gaye’s life is ripe with movie material, from his meteoric rise to his tragic murder at the hands of his own father. Directors including Cameron Crowe have tried to do movies and gotten stonewalled. One of the issues is the licensing of his iconic songs. This movie won’t include any of his Motown era hits, for example. Without those songs, this one could be a tough sell.
Read [The Hollywood Reporter]