Brian Grazer is not a man to give up on a project just because it spends a long time wandering the halls of development limbo. Case in point: his James Brown biopic, which he’s been working on since at least 2006. Now there is a rumble on the news seismometer, as The Help’s Tate Taylor is in talks to direct.
Brown himself was involved with the film up to his death on Christmas Day in 2006, working with original scriptwriter Steve Baigelman before screenplay duties were handed over to Jezz and John-Henry Butterworth.
There was director talk before, with Spike Lee attached to direct back in late 2006. He’s no longer involved, which has left the big chair open for Taylor (assuming he makes a deal). Mick Jagger has also jumped aboard to act as a producer, which seems fitting given that he knew Brown.
Of course, the big issue will be finding someone who can play the Godfather of Soul through his turbulent early life, his battles with drink and drugs, his four marriages and his musical triumphs. Eddie Murphy had been mentioned at one point, but chances are Grazer and co will go with someone else (Murphy may be slightly too old for much of the story).
“I am deeply honoured that Mick Jagger and Brian Grazer, two of my husband James Brown’s favourite people, have entered into a partnership to bring his inspirational story to the big screen,” said Brown’s widow, Tommie Rae Brown in a statement picked up by Deadline.
Given the length of time this has spent getting to the screen, we’d predict a bit of a wait on the cards still…