'Rent' Star Jesse L. Martin Feels 'Sexual Healing' in Marvin Gaye Biopic

March 4, 2013

Jesse L. Martin / Marvin Gaye

What do Will Smith, Terrence Howard, and Lenny Kravitz have in common? They were all, at one time or another, in contention to play legendary Motown singer Marvin Gaye in an upcoming biopic. Almost Famous director Cameron Crowe actually spent years developing his take on the singer's life, but as is often the case in Hollywood, it looks like another competing film will emerge instead as Crowe's version falls by the wayside. Deadline reports Earth Girls Are Easy helmer Julien Temple will direct a Gaye biopic called Sexual Healing, and "Law & Order" star Jesse L. Martin has taken the lead role as The Prince of Soul.

Sexual Healing revolves around Gaye's time spent in Europe in the early 1980s as he attempted to conquer his addictions and get his music career back up and running with the help of British music promoter Freddy Cousaert, set to be played by Brendan Gleeson. He bounced back with the album "Midnight Love," which contained the Grammy-winning song "Sexual Healing," but Gaye was tragically shot and killed by his own father after an argument in 1984.

Lenny Kravitz was last scheduled to play Gaye in Temple's film, but Gaye's son was apparently unhappy with this casting choice and threatened to take legal action against the movie. Kravitz is a passable actor, but I'm glad they've cast a lesser known personality who won't bring the baggage of his own celebrity to this role. Martin, most famous for portraying Detective Ed Green on "Law & Order," also originated the role of Tom Collins in the Broadway show Rent and reprised that role in the 2005 film version, so we know the dude has impressive pipes. Let's hope he can pull off Gaye's signature sound in this biopic, and that the final movie ends up being worth the wait for fans of the legendary musician. Filming starts in Europe later this month.

Find more posts: Casting, Movie News



Great that they are concentrating on the most terrible period of his life musically. Cocaine and heroin really messed him up. I'd have rather learned about What's Going On?, still one of the best albums ever.

Carpola on Mar 4, 2013


Can I just point out that Freddy Cousaert was a Belgian music promotor from the seaside city of Ostend, not a British one. That being said, I'm sure the great Brendan Gleeson will make us proud in Belgium (unless the script states he's British that would be plain wrong) ...

Kenneth Peeters on Mar 7, 2013

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