’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.

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