Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis are also on board with Tate Taylor directing.
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.
James will play Brown’s father in the pic.
Co-President of Production Peter Cramer and Vice President of Production Maradith Frenkel will oversee the project for Universal.
Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins are producing along with Mick Jagger and Victoria Pearman under their Jagged Films banner. Trish Hofmann and Peter Afterman will exec produce.
James has reached critical acclaim over the last several years for his work on AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and “Low Winter Sun” with this role marking his first major film role since breaking out on those shows. Other credits include “Hung” and the BBC show “Line of Duty.”
He is repped by UTA, manager Estelle Lasher and attorney Fred Toczek.