Chadwick Boseman Will Be James Brown

42 star lands in Tate Taylor's biopic

Shortly after James Brown died on Christmas Day, 2006, Brian Grazer, then collaborating with director Spike Lee, announced that the producer was finally making good on his long-cherished dream of making a biopic of the music legend's life. Cries of “too soon!” rang out, and the universe may have listened, because there has been little progress until recently. Or, more likely, the usual delays and changes in development took their toll. Today, however, Variety brings word that 42 star Chadwick Boseman has been set to play Brown.

The Help’s Tate Taylor is still attached to direct the film, working from Jez and John Henry Butterworth’s script. Taylor’s aim is to tell Brown’s story from his early days in poverty in Georgia and his rise to become a world famous R&B musician who produced a string of hits including Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag and I Got You (I Feel Good).

And The Wrap reports that Taylor is also considering it making it something of a Help reunion, with Viola Davis, Nelsan Ellis and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer all possibilities for supporting roles, though no offers have gone out yet.

Boseman, who won plaudits for playing colour bar-breaking baseball player Jackie Robinson in 42 (finally due here on September 13), will tackle what could be an even more challenging role in the untitled biopic. Before that, though, he’s appearing in American Football pic Draft Day alongside Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner.

There’s no schedule for the Brown film yet, though it’ll apparently be headed to Mississippi once it’s ready to start production.