×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

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.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Brad Pitt stars in “Ad Astra”.

    'Ad Astra' Lifts Above Competition at International Box Office With $26 Million

    Though “Ad Astra” was overthrown by the Crawley family at the domestic box office, Brad Pitt’s astronaut drama reigned supreme at the international box office. Directed by James Gray, “Ad Astra” launched overseas with $26 million from 44 foreign markets. The $80 million sci-fi epic debuted in North America with $19.2 million, bringing global box [...]

  • hugh jackman tiff bad education

    Toronto's Biggest Deal Goes to HBO: A Sign of the Future? (Column)

    When it comes to how we’ll be watching movies — or, at least, watching serious dramas for adults — in the future, here are two stark and timely contradictory facts: 1. Last week, as the Toronto International Film Festival drew to a close, a deal that had been in the rumor stage for a while [...]

  • 'Talking About Trees' Helmer Suhaib Gasmelbari

    'Talking About Trees' Director Suhaib Gasmelbari Receives Variety MENA Award

    Suhaib Gasmelbari, whose Sudanese documentary “Talking About Trees” premiered in the Berlinale’s Panorama section, received the Variety Middle East and North Africa Region Talent Award Saturday at the El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt from festival director Intishal Al Timimi. Variety critic Jay Weissberg, who selected the honoree, said that it is not usual that [...]

  • Josefina-Molina

    Josefina Molina: Still Battling After All These Years

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — She isn’t done yet. The battling character of Josefina Molina, winner of Spain’s 2019 National Cinematography Prize, was glimpsed in her acceptance speech at the San Sebastian Festival on Saturday. She used part to thank those who had given crucial help, such as, among women, editors Nieves Martin (1981’s “Función de Noche,” [...]

  • Suro

    Lastor, ‘The Endless Trench’s’ Irusoin, Malmo Team for Mikel Gurrea’s ‘Suro’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN – Barcelona-based Lastor Media and Malmo Pictures have teamed with San Sebastian’s Irusoin to produce “Suro” (The Cork), the feature debut of Mikel Gurrea and a product of San Sebastian’s Ikusmira Berriak program. The film stars Laia Costa, who broke through with Sebastian Schipper’s “Victoria” and also serves as executive producer, and Pol López [...]

  • Ane

    Madrid’s ECAM Incubator Develops Terrorism Drama 'Ane'

    SAN SEBASTIAN — For the second year in a row, the ECAM Madrid Film School has paired a number of up-and-coming filmmakers with various industry veterans for an Incubator program part of the school broader development arm called The Screen. For its initial edition in 2018, this Incubator selected five feature projects, putting the selected [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content