Jamie Foxx will chronicle Marvin Gaye’s triumphant, tragic life story in a planned limited series about the soul icon. The actor is executive producing the project alongside Passe Jones Entertainment’s Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones, who will shop the series to various linear and digital outlets, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“I’ve been a huge fan my whole life. His brilliance in music is unparalleled,” Foxx said in a statement. “Marvin Gaye’s story has always fascinated me.”
Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr., who signed Gaye to the legendary Detroit label in 1961, offered his official blessing to the series: “Marvin was the truest artist I have ever known,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I am confident that this is the right team to bring his story to the audience in an authentic and compelling way.”
At Motown, Gaye found success with his romantic musical persona, partnering with duet partners like Mary Wells and Tammi Terrell. But he explored social issues and sexual subject matter on later LPs, including 1971 masterpiece What’s Going On and 1973’s Let’s Get It On, respectively. After a commercial decline later in the decade, he found a resurgence with 1982’s Midnight Love and hit single “Sexual Healing.” But his story ended tragically in 1984, when he was fatally shot at age 44 by his father in Los Angeles.
While numerous actors, musicians and filmmakers have attempted to produce Gaye biopics over the years, Foxx’s is the first authorized by the late singer’s family. “This project will be a powerful and definitive telling of Marvin Gaye’s life story,” said Gaye’s son, Marvin Gaye III, who will also executive produce the project.
Noah Media Group and Greenlight are developing a documentary movie about the life of soul musician Marvin Gaye. “Marvin, What’s Going On?” centers on Gaye’s creation of his seminal 1971 album “What’s Going On” and marks the first time that his children — Nona, Marvin III and Frankie Gaye — along with his former wife, Janis Gaye, have supported and contributed to such a project.
The film, slated to go into production this year, will be “the defining portrait of this visionary artist and his impeccable album,” according to a statement from the film’s producers.
The album, which was recorded at the height of Detroit’s Motown era, was set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Gaye produced an album that “challenged America and the world to self-reflect, going on to inspire a generation of artists and music lovers,” the producers said. “The relevance of [his] masterpiece…is as strong as ever.”
Gabriel Clarke and Torquil Jones will co-direct, with their Noah Media Group partners John McKenna and Victoria Barrell producing, who together made up the team behind documentary movie “Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans.” The film will be produced in conjunction with Greenlight, part of Branded Entertainment Network, which represents the personality rights and trademarks of Marvin Gaye.
The documentary is to be filmed on location in Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington, and will feature exclusive interviews with some of Motown’s top stars and never-before-seen archive footage unearthed by Gaye’s children and former wife. The film is set to be released next year.
Gaye’s children said in a joint statement: “We would like to express our excitement about the upcoming documentary feature film about our father and the creation of his amazing ‘What’s Going On’ album. We are proud that his relevance remains intact, and we look forward to being a part of this cinematic journey.
“Our father was complex, but we are confident that with Noah Media Group’s attention to detail and their dedication to the truth, the positive, inspirational and aspirational aspects of his life will be handled and shared with the world in a way never seen before.
“We look forward to participating and sharing what we can through friends, family, photos, footage and priceless stories that only those who knew our father up close and personal would know, as well as his contemporaries, purists and fans who have studied him and his art over decades.
“’What’s Going On?’…something many of us find ourselves asking today, 45 years later. Peace.”
Lloyd Winston of Greenlight said: “We are honored to have the opportunity to extend the legacy of Marvin Gaye through this film and to inspire a whole new audience with this story. Noah Media Group has a proven track record for exploring moments in history through fascinating characters and we look forward to taking this journey with them.”
Noah Media Group said: “It is an honor to work with Nona, Marvin III, Frankie and Jan Gaye to tell such an important and timely story about an individual who used his unique musical gift to impact not only his generation, but generations to follow.”
Motown's BJ the Chicago Kid will also be featured on commemorative 10-inch vinyl EP.
In celebration of the 45th anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s seminal 1971 album What’s Going On, Universal Music Enterprises is coordinating a series of new vinyl releases that includes the next instalment in the label’s special reissue rollout: the seven-album box set Marvin Gaye Volume 3: 1971-1981.
The May 27 release includes the final seven studio albums that Gaye recorded for Motown subsidiary Tamla Records: What’s Going On, Trouble Man (1972), Let’s Get It On (1973), Diana & Marvin (1973), I Want You (1976), double-album Here, My Dear(1978) and In Our Lifetime (1981).
Four of the albums in the box set -- Let’s Get It On, Diana & Marvin, Here, My Dear and In Our Lifetime -- will also be available individually for the first time in several years. Additionally, a special What’s Going On 10-inch vinyl EP will be released June 24. It will be comprised of the original 7-inch mono single versions of the title track and “God Is Love” on one side (different from the later album versions). The other side will feature two “Motown: Re-Imagined” versions of the title song using only the original instrumentation. One will be a duet version with Motown newcomer BJ the Chicago Kid; the second will be an unplugged “Coffeehouse Mix.” The EP will also be released digitally.
The forthcoming Volume 3 box set was preceded last year by the seven-album set Marvin Gaye Volume 1: 1961-1965 and the eight-album Volume 2: 1966-1970.