Ever since James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, passed away on Christmas Day in 2006, Hollywood has been eager to bring his incredible life story to the big screen.
That same year, acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee was attached to write and direct a James Brown movie to be produced by Brian Grazer (who produced Lee’s Inside Man).
“We’re doing it together — it’s going to happen,” Lee told MTV News in 2009. “I want to hear James Brown’s voice. That’s just my personal taste.”
At various times both Wesley Snipes and Eddie Murphy were said to be seriously considering taking on the iconic lead role.
“There’s the most incredible script that Spike Lee worked on that has everything in it, but you have to get the rights from the people who have the rights to James’ story… and getting them all together… which makes it hard to come together… but I hope it comes together… it’s a great, great piece,” said Murphy on Black Tree TV.
Now it looks like Lee has left the project altogether.
His replacement, according to Deadline.com, will be Tate Taylor, the director of the box office hit The Help, which won Octavia Spencer an Academy Award for best supporting actress.
Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger is also joining the project as an executive producer.
“It’s a great honor to be involved with a project as rich as the story of the legendary James Brown. He was a mesmerizing performer with a fascinating life,” said Jagger.
Deanna Brown Thomas, one of the late singer’s children, said, “My father’s music has been a beacon to people all over the world and now his life story will impact future generations and show why he is respected as The Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown!”
As of this report the casting of the Brown role and intended release date for the film still remain up in the air.