'The Help' Director & Brian Grazer Put Soul into James Brown Biopic

October 22, 2012

James Brown

Musicians are some of the most popular subjects for Hollywood biopics for good reason. Their stories are often about overcoming incredible odds to become hugely successful, and the conflicts that arise when they're on their way to the top (as well as the ones they encounter once they've arrived there) are inherently dramatic. So it makes sense that a biopic of James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, has been in development for years, and now Deadline reports The Help helmer Tate Taylor will be the one to direct it for mega-producer Brian Grazer. Plus, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger is on board to produce as well.

Jez and John-Henry Butterworth wrote the script, which follows the young James Brown as he rose out of poverty and avoided a path of violence during his rise to prominence, leading him to become one of the most legendary and influential musicians of all time. Grazer has been trying to get this project off the ground for years (Spike Lee was once set to direct the project but has since moved on), and Brown himself was involved with the project until he passed away in 2006.

Another reason these movies are great for Hollywood bean counters is because they already have a built-in audience of fans and since Brown's family is working with Grazer and Taylor on this one, it should be easy to secure the rights to Brown's music to ensure a fantastic soundtrack. No word yet on casting, but whoever ends up with the lead role has some enormous shoes to fill. Taylor worked with a bunch of A-list talent for his directorial debut in The Help, and since that film was nominated for Best Picture, he should have some big names lining up to be a part of this one too. I'd like to see Chiwetel Ejiofor take this role because he still hasn't become a household name, but I could see someone like Taye Diggs snagging this part because of his previous musical experience. Who do you think should play the Godfather of Soul?

Find more posts: Development, Movie News



where in the he11 is the rick james biopic???

beevis on Oct 22, 2012


Featuring Dave Chappelle and Charlie Murphy!

Big Boss on Oct 22, 2012


well, if it's going to be a real biopic - it can't be those guys. i want someone who captured the danger and craziness in a real leon did with david ruffin. but, hey! i LOVED rick james true hollywood stories - it's one of THE funniest things i've ever watched!

beevis on Oct 23, 2012


His life was pretty mental, tap dancing for GI's who were using the brothel he grew up in right up until battering his wife and shooting her. Musically he destroys people though, like actually obliterates everything. I'd love to see a film about him, Curtis Mayfield too.

Carpola on Oct 23, 2012

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