Musician biopics are starting to pop up everywhere in the past week; first Tupac Shakur, then Milli Vanilli and now Marvin Gaye. Screen Daily has reported that Julien Temple, the man behind music docs like The Filth and the Fury and The Future Is Unwritten, has taken directorial duties on this long-delayed project and will begin shooting on location in Ostend, Belgium later this year.
The project was originally supposed to begin filming in April 2008 with Jesse L. Martin as Gaye and James Gandolfini playing the record producer who helped the singer stage a later in life comeback, but that never happened [The Playlist].
Now it is in entirely new hands, with Banana Films (based in Belgium) taking over with a budget of 8 million dollars and more importantly with EMI agreeing to let them use Gaye’s music without charging them an arm and a leg. Gandolfini and Martin are also not expected to be part of the cast this time around.
Based off a script by Lauren Goodman, Sexual Healing focuses on the last few years of Gaye’s life and starts with his exile from the music business. A drug addict, he takes refuge in Ostend, Belgium where he meets Frank Cousaert, a record producer who helps him turn his life around and helps him with his album (called Midnight Love) which on the strength of smash hit “Sexual Healing” propels him back into the limelight and the hearts and minds of fans and the music industry as a whole. Unfortunately, the story has a tragic end; after touring in support of his hit record, he came back to Los Angeles to rest and was shot to death by his father after a business argument at the age of 45.
This isn’t the first time a movie based on Marvin Gaye has been bandied about; Cameron Crowe had tried to get one off the ground with Terrence Howard playing the singer (thank God that didn’t happen) and F. Gary Gray had also been working on one of his own. Leave it to Belgium of all places to figure out a way to get it done.
Are you interested at all in a Marvin Gaye biopic or would you rather continue to think of him as “that guy whose song I seduce unsuspecting women to”?
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