Today in history, May 3rd, 1933, James Brown, aka The Godfather of Soul, was born in South Carolina.
A film based on the life of the singer has long been in the works, with Spike Lee attached to direct it, and uber-producer Brian Grazer overseeing the project; though it’s in limbo right now, with no certainty whatsoever that it’ll ever be made.
At one point, Wesley Snipes was Spike’s man for the starring job, but my guess is that Wesley’s tax problems meant a change in plans.
In fact, as recently as 2009, it seemed like the project was as close to a sure-thing as any can get, with Spike saying in an interview with MTV News, “We’re doing it together – it’s going to happen… He’s my man.“
He was referring to Wesley Snipes in that quote back in January 2009 (S&A hadn’t been born yet).
Spike added that he intended to use James Brown’s “authentic voice” during for any musical sequences in the film; essentially, Wesley would lip-synch.
2 years later since that interview, and 4 years since the project first came together, little seems to have further developed on this project, and it looks like if it does happen anytime soon, it won’t be Wesley Snipes in the starring role.
Last we heard about the film (last year), James Brown’s daughter, Dr. Yamma Brown said that the family was considering Eddie Murphy, Chris Brown & Usher to star in the Godfather of Soul’s biopic, and announcement which, as I recall, took a lot of you by surprise.
Whether or not any of those 3 gentlemen is still being considered, or if there are others, isn’t public info.
As I’ve said before, I’d cast an unknown for the part.
Also, when it comes to biopics, I’d much rather that they focus on some period of the man’s life, as opposed to trying to squeeze his entire life into 2 hours.
James Brown’s is just one of several film projects based on the lives of deceased black entertainers currently in limbo (just take a look at my 50+ Biopic Projects On Black Public Figures “In Limbo;” post from earlier last month).
Watch the old clip below in which Dr. Yamma Brown reveals names being considered to play her father on screen: