Terrence Howard As Marvin Gaye?

Cameron Crowe has been talking to him

It’s been a long hard road for director Cameron Crowe as he sets up his next project. He’s had films like the Hawaii-set romantic drama codenamed Deep Tiki go south, and others have been stuck in years of development, like his planned Marvin Gaye biopic. But now there seems to be some movement on that one, as Terrence Howard is saying he’s been in talks about taking the lead as the inconic soul singer.

If Howard does end up snatching the role, it’ll likely be a relief for Crowe, who has already had to deal with Will Smith turning the part down. Just don’t count it as a deal yet, though. “Nothing's been signed on paper yet,” the actor tells Deadline. “Everybody who loves music will hate me if I get this one wrong."

Still, at least he can sing, even if we did have to learn that fact via dodgy album Shine Through It, released in 2008.

We’re crossing our fingers that Cameron gets this one going sooner rather than later, as The Playlist Nation points out that it’s one of several Gaye biopics planning to hit the mic – F. Gary Gray has one with Jesse L. Martin and James Gandolfini attached that could conceivably shoot later this year.

But there’s even some possible competition from one of Crowe’s other developing assignments. Word from Production Weekly’s latest issue says that Crowe is now confirmed to direct a film of Benjamin Mee’s memoir We Bought A Zoo.

Based on the columnist’s tale of moving his family to Dartmoor Wildlife Park and renovating both it and the country manor at its heart, it’s both heart-warming and heart-rending as the family succeeded in saving many of the animals, but Mee’s wife succumbed to terminal cancer.

Latest reports have Ben Stiller once more flirting with the idea of starring and Matt Damon either considering another role or possibly being lined up as a replacement. But given his hectic schedule, we’ve no idea when he’d have the time. Things are certainly moving ahead, though, given that the movie has a script by Aline Brosh McKenna and a December 2011 release date from Fox. So which would you rather see Crowe focus on?