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.
Frederick Bestall of Auric Entertainment Pty. Ltd. and Jimmy De Brabant from Delux Productions are producing. Grammy-winning producer Vassal Benford will executive produce with Peter Davy. Vassal will also compose the score, after producing records for Mariah Carey, R. Kelly, Flo Rida, Sheryl Crow, Patti LaBelle, and others. Production is underway in Luxemburg and Belgium.
“Marvin Gaye is an iconic idol with a bittersweet story spanning success, fame and the torments of addiction,” said Alison Thompson, co-president of Focus Features International. “With his long established track record in making movies about music and the great musicians who touch us all, Julien and his team are the ideal partners to bring the extraordinary life of Marvin Gaye to audiences around the world.”
Add this to a FFI slate that includes the Michael Cuesta-directed Kill The Messenger with Jeremy Renner; the Kevin Macdonald-directed Black Sea with Jude Law, a new film by Mike Leigh that stars Timothy Spall as painter J.M.W. Turner, and Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine with Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin.