This news may disappoint several people including Cameron Crowe. A long awaited Marvin Gaye biopic starring “Law & Order” star Jesse L. Martin called, “Sexual Healing,” was set to begin shooting in April of 2008. Focusing on the last years of the soul singer’s life, “Sopranos” actor (and producer on that version of the project) James Gandolfini was set to play Belgian promoter Freddy Cousaert who helped Gaye back on his feet to record his comeback album, Midnight Love which spawned the monster hit, “Sexual Healing.” Relatively untested director Lauren Goodman was set to direct, but April 2008 came and went and basically none of us heard a peep about this project since.
Until now. Some five-odd years in the making, “Sexual Healing,” looks like it’s now back on its feet with director Julien Temple at the helm known for his lengthy career with rock music films, including the Sex Pistols doc, “The Filth and the Fury,” and the earlier mockumentary, “The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle,” the Joe Strummer documentary portrait, “The Future Is Unwritten,” the David Bowie musical, “Absolute Beginners” and many more (he’s also working on a Kinks biopic called, “You’ve Really Got Me“).
Many Marvin Gaye biopics have stalled in recent years including the aforementioned Cameron Crowe film which hoped to star Terrence Howard and another iteration by director F. Gary Gray, and part of the reason was likely due to the music licenses and or lack thereof. But EMI Records, who holds the rights to Gaye’s music, is evidently ready to give this $8 million project their endorsement.
It’s unclear if Goodman’s script has been revised, but originally, “Sexual Healing” was loosely based it on the book, “Trouble Man‘ — in April, 1981, a drug-addicted Gaye who had fallen out of favor with the music industry and its labels, took refuge in the small, tranquil town of Ostend, Belgium. There he met Cousaert who convinced Gaye to continue living abroad – an exile that lasted almost two years. Coursaret guided the singer through the recording of his biggest-selling album, Midnight Love which launched his late career Top 40 comeback. No principal actors have been mentioned and it appears that neither Gandolfini nor Martin are involved any longer.
In 1983, exhausted after his Love tour, the singer moved in with his parents in Los Angeles. Gaye’s father Marvin Sr. shot his son to death after a business argument on April 1, 1984, one day before his forty-fifth birthday. [ScreenDaily]