U’s Charles biopic keeps date

Foxx topliner set for October bow

Universal is going ahead with plans to open “Ray,” a biopic about the late singer Ray Charles, on Oct. 29.

Studio acquired the rights to the project in March when it was named “Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story,” 16 years after the project first went into development. Taylor Hackford, who directed and is a producer on the film, issued a statement about Charles on Friday.

“Although the term ‘genius’ has been overused, it is the only description that truly fits the greatness of Ray Charles,” he said. “For the past 15 years, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with Ray on a feature film about his life. It didn’t take us that long to make the film, only to find the financing.”

The now-dissolved Crusader Entertainment announced it had acquired life rights in 2001, back when Charles was still playing more than 200 sold-out dates per year. Crusader, owned by Phillip Anschutz, was recently re-named Bristol Bay as part of a restructuring.

Production on the pic, starring Jamie Foxx, wrapped in July 2003.

“Heart” centers on the personal and professional hardships and triumphs of Charles, who was born in the segregated South in 1930 and went blind at age 7 from glaucoma.

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