’42’ Star Chadwick Boseman to Play James Brown (EXCLUSIVE)

'42' Star Chadwick Boseman to Play
Fernando Leon/Getty Images

Universal has greenlit the film to be produced by Brian Grazer

Universal and Imagine Entertainment have greenlit the long-gestating James Brown biopic after tapping “42” star Chadwick Boseman to play the legendary artist known as the “godfather of soul.”

“The Help” director Tate Taylor is helming the pic with Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins producing along with Mick Jagger and Victoria Pearman under their Jagged Films banner. Trish Hofmann and Peter Afterman will exec produce.

Jez and John Henry Butterworth penned the script.

Pic follows Brown’s rise from extreme poverty in Georgia to becoming a world famous and highly influential R&B musician with a string of hits in the 1960s and ’70s including “Please, Please, Please,” “I Got You (I Feel Good),” “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and many others. Brown died in 2006 at age 73.

Co-President of Production Peter Cramer and Vice President of Production Maradith Frenkel will oversee the project for Universal.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Taylor announced today that the a lot of the film would be shot in Mississippi.

Grazer has been trying to make a Brown biopic for more than a decade. The project gained momentum after Taylor boarded the project. The studio has been working out budget issues while meeting with prospective thesps to play Brown.

Several actors were vying for the role, but Boseman emerged as the top choice a few weeks ago, though no offer could be made until the pic was formally greenlit.

Boseman will be seen next in Summit’s NFL pic “Draft Day” starring Kevin Costner.

He is repped by Greene and Associates and Management 360.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 10

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. alton mckinzie says:

    Why didn’t you take a look at Little Royal to be in this film. James Brown and Little Royal could be possible twins. Little Royal loves in Washington ,D.C. and is still currently dancing and singing and without trying looking talking and sings just like James Brown. I probably should not give out his number but I do talk to him daily and play in his band the Swingmasters. His number is 301_928_1381. He is performing on Monday at 6 pm in Washington,D.C. 401 I. St. S.W. along with his own songs he will be doing songs by James Brown. James Brown and Little Royal always said that they must be brothers. You can verify that from Mr Dany Ray, James former valet and Mc.

  2. This is the FIRST and ONLY Facebook page posted FOR and EXCLUSIVELY ABOUT The FAMOUS FLAMES. All other such sites are either only about JAMES BROWN, or about his various BANDS…such as the original JAMES BROWN BAND or his later band THE J.B.’s. THE FAMOUS FLAMES (contrary to popular belief) were NOT, nor were they EVER, “backup musicians” . this means that band members such as MACEO PARKER, MELVIN PARKER, JABO STARKS, ST. CLAIR PINCKNEY,JIMMY NOLEN, BOOTSY COLLINS, CLYDE STUBBLEFIELD, etc, were NOT The Famous Flames. The FAMOUS FLAMES were a SINGING GROUP….not a “BAND”. Their members were : JAMES BROWN (yes, he was a Famous Flame TOO), BOBBY BYRD (group founder), BOBBY BENNETT, LLOYD STALLWORTH (better known as “Baby Lloyd”), and JOHNNY TERRY. The FAMOUS FLAMES were inducted into THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME in 2012, some 26 years AFTER lead singer JAMES BROWN’S controversial SOLO induction.


  3. although I believe that Chadwick is an oustanding actor I think there are others who would be better choices. for instance Eddie Murphy or actor comedian Eddie Griffin who is an excellent dancer and. due to the choreography that would be needed to bring the Godfather of Soul to life Eddie Griffin or Murphy would have been my first choice even in this world prosthetics I would even say Usher

  4. Liz says:

    All three of you sound like Brits, criticizing something that hasn’t been filmed yet. Wait a minute..ARE you guys Brits cause it would explain a lot?!

  5. Lodi says:

    Mississippi is not Augusta, GA. Bad decision to shoot the film anywhere else but Mr. Brown’s hometown. The Bell is still there, Broad Street is there. His house is still in Beech Island, across the bridge. The building where he had his old offices in West Augusta is still the same. Maybe Grazer needs to send a location scout to Augusta before committing to shoot this film so far way from Augusta. Fans will not like this.

    • bootsybaby says:

      They’re not gonna shoot the new Star Wars films in space either. How will that ever work? Morons.

      CB is perfect for this, can’t wait.

  6. Don Edmunds says:

    The very idea that this picture will be filmed away from Mr. Brown’s home is repugnant. Did the producers and director and studio even try to get it made in Augusta? Virtually all the sites from Mr. Brown’s life still exist…including the Bell Auditorium where performed. This is very very disappointing and I would urge the powers that be to reconsider their decision, else a plethora of bad blood and publicity will follow this project.

    • Wouldn’t it be great to see Augusta GA on the big screen. But that would not be fake would it, and therefore not Hollywood. But Ike and Tina worked so did Lincoln and Ray. Shooting in Mississippi does not give me high hopes for this biopic it just means that Chadwick Boseman probably can’t dance.

More Film News from Variety