Studio tunes up 'Church Boy'
Lionsgate is helping gospel music star Kirk Franklin preach to the choir.Indie studio is prepping “Church Boy,” a biopic in which Franklin will play himself. The top-selling gospel music artist of the last two decades also will produce and compose the soundtrack. Lionsgate prexy of production Michael Paseornek said the deal with Franklin continues the expansion of the studio’s portfolio of African-American and faith-based properties. Pic will chart Franklin’s journey from troubled teenager to regular churchgoer and artist who changed the face of contemporary gospel by introducing elements of R&B, hip-hop, rock and pop. His debut album, “Kirk Franklin and the Family,” became the first gospel disc to sell more than 1 million units. Franklin is the leader of several contemporary gospel choirs and recently completed the first leg of his “Hero Tour.” “To hear his story is to realize how faith and dedication can help a person overcome the most daunting obstacles,” Paseornek said. In addition to Franklin, producers are Paul Hall, Bobby Smith Jr. and Robi Reed. Will Young is co-producing. Franklin intends to compose new songs for the “Church Boy” soundtrack and include old favorites. Lionsgate Music Publishing will work closely with Franklin and his publishers on the newly created compositions and will co-publish those works. Franklin launched Fo Yo Soul Entertainment, which includes a record label, a production company, an ad agency, a youth outreach initiative and urban-styled youth ministry NuNation Ministries.