We’ll file this one under unconfirmed for now.
The London Evening Standard is reporting today that they’ve learned Lenny Kravitz has been tapped to play Marvin Gaye in British filmmaker Julien Temple’s tentatively titled Midnight Love project (named after the album Marvin Gaye recorded in Brussels in the early 80s).
The film, which S&A has been following since it was first announced, will focus on the making of the Midnight Love album, while Gaye was living in Belgium – a drug addict, considered a has-been at the time.
If you recall, of all the Marvin Gaye films that have long been in development, Julien Temple’s, at one time, seemed the most likely to be completed first; it was early in 2011 that it had been given a greenlight, and financing for its $8 million budget; although, at that time, there was no word on who was being considered for the title role.
Principal photography was scheduled to begin in Belgium late last year, but that didn’t happen. As we’ve reported several times, Janis Gaye, the late singer’s second and last wife, apparently knew nothing about the project, stating last year that she was at her home in Rhode Island when she read about plans to make the film (maybe she read it here on Shadow And Act ;)).
Janis Gaye was said to be “very skeptical about attempts to bring Marvin Gaye’s story to screen,” as she has had difficulties trusting other involved parties over the years, since his death.
She was also concerned that Temple’s film would “focus on his drug abuse, on other negative aspects of his life.“
Well, obviously it would have, given the description of the project that we know.
And secondly, in terms of resistance to the project, there was the influence of Motown founder Berry Gordy to consider, who reportedly hasn’t been keen on any Marvin Gaye film that painted him (Gordy) in a negative light.
An early 2012 report by the NY Post mentioned Berry Gordy’s attempts to block film productions on the life on Marvin Gaye, adding: “He [Gordy] basically owns the rights to the Marvin Gaye story… And he’s been quietly blocking the scripts and music because he doesn’t want his name dragged through the mud,” a source for the NY Post said.
But the hurdles in front of anyone trying to make a Gaye biopic are multifold. One essential requirement is the rights to the music. Another is an actor capable of playing the singer; Then, there are the interests of his family to consider – those of his first wife, Anna Gordy, elder sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy, and of Janis Gaye and her children.
The last report on this said that EMI, which holds the rights to Gaye’s music, on behalf of his children, Nona Gaye, Marvin Gaye III, and Frankie Gaye, was understood to be ready to give the greenlight to Julien Temple’s $8 million film.
We’re not sure about the role of his 2 wives – if they have any say in the matter anyway. But, basically, it looks like it’ll be a challenge for any filmmaker interested in making a Marvin Gaye film to pass all those tests, and make everybody happy! So we’re not sure what all this means for Temple’s Midnight Love project, specifically, with today’s news of Lenny Kravitz’s alleged casting in the title role.
As for the other Marvin Gaye projects in the works, here’s a quick rundown: We know that F. Gary Gray has long been trying to get his Marvin Gaye project off the ground; and we also know that Jesse L Martin has been attached to star as the soulful singer in a film directed by newcomer, Lauren Goodman; and director Cameron Crowe has been working on a Marvin Gaye project for about 5 years now, with news that Terrence Howard was in talks to play the man (previously offered to Will Smith).
Most of you, as I recall, were very excited about a Jesse L. Martin Marvin Gaye film, above all the others. So what do you think about Lenny Kravitz… if this is eventually confirmed?
In a flashback to 1977, watch the below rare interview with Marvin Gaye Sr And Marvin Gaye Jr. Of course, roughly 7 years later, father shot son twice, killing him instantly.