James Brown Biopic Casting Could Start Soon

By Eric Eisenberg 2013-01-16 12:15:06discussion comments
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Two days after the death of James Brown in December 2006 there was talk of a biopic about the Godfather of Soul. Spike Lee, who was just coming off the biggest success of his career, Inside Man, had signed on to direct the movie with Paramount funding the project. And that was the day the waiting began.

For the last six years we have been waiting for the James Brown biopic to actually get made, but it has simply been stuck in the bowels of development hell. But then came news late last year that the film was getting new life. Lee is no longer involved and has been replaced by The Help director Tate Taylor and it was revealed that rock legend Mick Jagger would be joining Brian Grazer as a producer. but where does the project stand now?

Grazer recently had a quick chat with Rolling Stone about the status of the movie about the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, and from his comments it seems that they are moving forward and will start the casting process soon. In the detailed interview, which also goes into the time the producer actually met Brown and sold him on the project, Grazer says that no decisions have been made yet regarding who will play the lead role, but that they plan for their search to be extensive. "We're going to start casting and we're going to have to test lots of actors and be determined to pick the right one. No movie starts in a day. I've never loved a subject and not made the movie. Friday Night Lights took 13 years. American Gangster took seven or eight."

Grazer also touched on the controversy surrounding the switch at the helm, as many disliked that Lee, as a black director, would be replaced by a white director like Taylor. Said the producer, "I view that a bunch of different ways. Mick and I don't see the world that way. I started my career making Boomerang and CB4. I've made so many movies where I've supported black artists. Tate made The Help, and that had almost an entirely black population. I just want to try to make the best movie." He went on to add that he doesn't actually read comments like that, as he can't, "look at some blog and change the course of the whole movie."

So maybe we'll actually get to see that James Brown biopic before 2020. And while Grazer may not pay attention to your comments, who would you like to see land the starring role?
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