Focus Features International will sell worldwide rights to the untitled biopic that Julien Temple will direct with Rent and Law & Order‘s Jesse L. Martin starring as the iconic soul singer with the sweet voice and troubled personal life. Script is by Matthew Broughton, and In Bruges‘ Brendan Gleeson will play the role of Freddy Cousaert, who met Marvin Gaye in 1981 in the Belgian fishing village of Ostend when the singer was battling everything from drug problems to the IRS. Cousaert helped the singer regain his mojo, leading to a comeback that included hits like Sexual Healing. Vicky Krieps (Hanna) also stars and Dwight Henry (the bakery owner who played Hushpuppy’s father in Beasts Of The Southern Wild) will play Gaye’s father, who silenced his son with a gunshot.
Sexual Healing is becoming a bit of a mini-Law & Order reunion. S. Epatha Merkerson, who played Lt. Anita van Buren on the series for 19 years, is in negotiations to play Marvin’s Gaye’s mother Alberta in the music biopic. Currently seen in a recurring role on NBC’s Deception, Merkerson would join fellow Law & Order actor Jesse L Martin in the Julien Temple-directed film. Martin signed on recently to play the Motown legend after initial lead Lenny Kravitz dropped out following legal concerns by Gaye’s heirs. Those concerns have now been put to rest and the movie is moving ahead, with Brendan Gleeson co-starring as British music promoter Freddy Cousaert. Vassal Benford and Fred Bestall are producing. Sexual Healing focuses on the time Gaye spent in Europe in the early 1980s, when the soul singer attempted to get his addictions under control and career back on track with the help of Cousaert. Gaye was shot by his father and died in Los Angeles on April 1, 1984 with his mother in the house. Merkerson is repped by ICM Partners, McGowan Management and attorney Roger S. Haber.
After years of gestation and obstacles for a slew of competing projects, a Marvin Gaye feature biopic will be made after all. I’ve learned that Jesse L. Martin will play the Motown legend in the Julien Temple-helmed Sexual Healing, which is slated to start filming in later this month in Europe. Brendan Gleason is set to co-star. Law & Order alum Jesse L. Martin was previously attached to star in the James Gandolfini-produced version of Sexual Healing five years ago. Temple’s Sexual Healing made headlines in November when it tapped Lenny Kravitz for the lead, triggering objections from Gaye’s son, Marvin Gaye III, who asked Kravitz to drop out and threatened legal action against the film. Sexual Healing now appears on track, with Vassal Benford and Fred Bestall producing. The film focuses on the time Gaye spent in Europe in the early 1980s, when the soul singer attempted to get his addictions under control and career back on track with the help of British music promoter Freddy Cousaert (Gleason). Gaye was shot by his father and died in Los Angeles on April 1, 1984. Temple, a video and documentary director, previously helmed Absolute Beginners. Martin, repped by manager Bob McGowan and ICM Partners, recently starred in the NBC pilot The Secret Lives Of Husbands And Wives, which remains in contention for fall. He also has extensive music credentials, including originating the role of Tom Collins …
From The Hunger Games to “Heard It Through The Grapevine” — Lenny Kravitz is set to play Marvin Gaye, Deadline has confirmed. The part of the Motown legend in the Julien Temple-helmed film will be the first lead role for the Grammy-winning Kravitz as an actor, after he has appeared in supporting roles in Lee Daniels’ Precious as well as The Hunger Games. (He also will be seen in Daniels’ White House drama The Butler and in the upcoming sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.) The Gaye project is scheduled to start filming next year and will focus on the time Gaye spent in Europe in the early 1980s, when the soul singer attempted to get his addictions under control and career back on track with the help of British music promoter Freddy Cousaert. Gaye was shot by his father and died in Los Angeles on April 1, 1984. Temple, a video and documentary director, helmed Absolute Beginners and, more recently, the 2012 Summer Olympics docu London: Modern Babylon.