Last October producer Brian Grazer enlisted “The Help” director, Tate Taylor, to helm the long-awaited James Brown bio-flick.
In addition to co-producing the film alongside legendary musician Mick Jagger, Grazer recently revealed to Rolling Stone that despite owning the rights for over a decade, the production crew is set to begin casting soon. And while Wesley Snipes and Eddie Murphy were both mentioned in the past to possibly land the leading role, Grazer admitted that they’re still in the early stages of choosing the right actor.
“We're going to start casting and we're going to have to test lots of actors and be determined to pick the right one,” he told the magazine. “No movie starts in a day. I've never loved a subject and not made the movie. Friday Night Lights took 13 years. American Gangster took seven or eight.”
“I had the rights for a very long time, from about 12 years ago. I was really determined to do it for a variety of reasons. I had Al Sharpton as a consultant for a minute,” he continued. “I put a lot of effort into it and a substantial amount of my own money into it, $2 million. And when James Brown died, the rights became more complicated, and I lost them. I had already developed a great script by the Butterworths, but it all came unglued.”
The producer, whose credits include “Boomerang” and “Apollo 13,” went on to add that the Godfather of Soul had no qualms about sharing his much publicized legal woes prior to his 2006 death.
“He seemed to be OK with all those things. It would encapsulate his whole life. You get a sense of how he grew up and how was beaten in a burlap sack as a child,” he said. “So you get a sense of abandonment and abuse in how he grew up, which leads you into the young adult and his relationship with his band.”
“Our focus would be when he was in late 30s, but we would capture the great high points and some of the really palpable low points of his life. We want to capture the string of amazing hits like ‘It's a Man's Man's Man's World’ and ‘Please, Please, Please.’ In our first draft, we had 30 performance pieces.”