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CONFIRMED - Lenny Kravitz Will Play Marvin Gaye In Director Julien Temple's Biopic

by Tambay A. Obenson
November 26, 2012 6:59 PM
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marvin gaye

We can now officially remove the question mark and move this one into the "confirmed" pile.

It was exactly a week ago that we reported the on the London Evening Standard's news stating that they'd heard Lenny Kravitz had been tapped to play Marvin Gaye in British filmmaker Julien Temple's previously titled Midnight Love project (named after the album Marvin Gaye recorded in Brussels in the early 80s).

It's now been confirmed that Kravitz is definitely attached to the project to play Marvin Gaye, and it'll start shooting early next year, according to Deadline, adding that, unlike other Marvin Gaye projects, the music rights for this one have been cleared.

The film, which S&A has been following since it was first announced early last year, will focus on the making of the Midnight Love album, while Gaye was living in Belgium - a drug addict, considered a has-been at the time.

If you recall, of all the Marvin Gaye films that have long been in development, Julien Temple's, at one time, seemed the most likely to be completed first; it was early in 2011 that it had been given a greenlight, and financing for its $8 million budget; although, at that time, there was no word on who was being considered for the title role.


Principal photography was scheduled to begin in Belgium late last year, but that didn't happen. there was some resistance to the project from members of Gaye's surviving family, as well as Berry Gordy.

Concerns about showing some of Marvin's vices were at the root of some of that resistance, as well as Gordy reportedly not wanting to be portrayed in a negative light himself.

So maybe we can assume that these matters have been resolved to some mutual satisfaction...?

An earlier report on this said that EMI, which holds the rights to Gaye’s music, on behalf of his children, Nona GayeMarvin Gaye III, and Frankie Gaye, was understood to be ready to give the greenlight to Julien Temple's $8 million film. So it could be that Temple doesn't need the explicit script approval from Gaye's family, nor Gordy to move forward with the project, and it was strictly a music rights hold-up, which has now been resolved.

As for the other Marvin Gaye projects in the works, here's a quick rundown: We know that F. Gary Gray has long been trying to get his Marvin Gaye project off the ground; and we also know that Jesse L Martin has been attached to star as the soulful singer in a film directed by newcomer, Lauren Goodman; and director Cameron Crowe has been working on a Marvin Gaye project for about 5 years now, with news that Terrence Howard was in talks to play the man (previously offered to Will Smith).

Jesse L. Martin has always been a fan favorite for the part, but it looks like you all are going to have to adjust to the idea of Lenny Kravitz as Marvin Gaye, because it's coming...

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  • tony smith | October 14, 2013 4:32 AMReply

    Lenny Kravitz is too short to play anybody other than Lenny Kravitz.

  • Heather | January 27, 2013 1:11 AMReply

    Martin Luther McCoy should have been as Marvin Gaye!

  • Kristina | December 5, 2012 4:40 PMReply

    What the fuck is Hollywood thinking??? Lenny Kravitz as Marvin Gaye. Bitch please.

  • Grace | December 3, 2012 7:48 AMReply

    OMG, Lenny Kravitz?!!?!?!? I hope that the movie NEVER gets made, especially since it will focus on the worse part of Marvin Gaye's life. A travesty. Jesse Martin is absolutely the best choice for a myriad of reasons. This is bull and people should not support this film. It's sensationalism and not art or music.

  • Charles Judson | December 3, 2012 9:35 AM

    So a movie about Gaye making his most successful album and recording one of the most enduring songs of the entire 20th Century, a song which also won two Grammys, is the worse part of his life? This coming after a divorce, being screwed over by Motown, struggling with drug addiction and being mostly written off has a fading star? An album and song that were the last to be released just before his death? Clearly this film is exploitation and success in the face of personal and emotional adversity should be denounced. Let us only make films that celebrate those who don't struggle.

  • Ty | December 2, 2012 10:16 AMReply

    Jesse Martin is the better choice and I hope his film will get made.

  • Alex | December 1, 2012 6:24 AMReply

    I love Julien Temple. That man knows about music and even better music and film. Like Joe Wright - he can handle this. Good luck to them all.

  • Sky | November 30, 2012 12:50 AMReply

    ROI is a bullsh#t reason for a poor choice of actress or actor. Zoe and Lenny are box office and stink as thespians. What does that mean for all the struggling artists out there who deserve a shot? What does that mean for all the true fans/lovers of Nina and Marvin? If the masses keep supporting crap films, the bankers will keep churning them out. If You Want Something Better, Save your Money and Wait Them Out! Hell, eventually an Oscar Micheaux for this generation will appear ;)

  • Josh | November 29, 2012 1:24 AMReply

    Midnight Love will be a little taste of what to come when a actual Marvin Gaye Biopic is made. I'm glad Lenny Kravitz was cast as Marvin Gaye in this movie. I think he have the acting chops to do Marvin justice. But Midnight Love is not a biopic though. I want a Marvin Gaye biopic and Jesse L. martin will be the best choice hands down to play Marvin Gaye. But I am interested in seeing the movie when it comes out because I am a Lenny Kravitz.

  • Nadine | November 27, 2012 8:16 PMReply

    I don't think Orville's comment being given such power.

  • Donella | November 27, 2012 2:55 PMReply

    How bizarre.

  • ATC | November 27, 2012 2:45 PMReply

    Orville, I read your comments. I hope you read mine. I work in film (25 years now). Hollywood is a factory/casino where every project and every leading role is decided by many variables, but mostly, they are determined by the statistical probabilities of getting the greatest return on the investment. Zoe Saldana is a GOOD INVESTMENT or a GOOD BET, if you will, on getting a profitable return...which is why we make films. She has a PROVEN TRACK RECORD. This is a huge investment and the investor makes those decisions out of self-interest...NOT RACIAL BIAS, I promise you. TALENT is not enough to be cast these also have to be able to draw crowds. Zoe is in the news, popular and has a fan base. She has carried big-budget projects successfully. You need to embrace the world you actually live in...which is not the world you imagine. Sadly, it once was...but now, it's all about the money. See you at the movies!

  • ALM | December 2, 2012 9:11 PM

    @ Alex: Exactly! That's what I have said on this very site time and time again. A few of the posters on here are adamant that Idris and Viola can't carry films, but if you are never given legitimate opportunities to carry high quality films, then who knows what you can do? Heck, even Bill Clinton thought that then senator Obama possibly being President was a "fairy tale" until senator Obama was elected President Obama. Once again, Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson have TONS of flops, yet they keep getting hired to lead major feature films. At some point, people have to face the facts of what is really going on here. All of these actors (Idris, Viola, etc.) are not getting the same opportunities as their counterparts.

  • Alex | December 1, 2012 6:17 AM

    True. I have been in earshot of discussions between casting directors and producers exposing this factor numerous times. However the reason that someone like Zoe, Halle (the lighter skinned black actresses - to reference the play BLACKTA) are even considered for these roles or have the opportunity to have, as you put it, a 'PROVEN TRACK RECORD' is rooted in racial bias. Viola Davis hasn't perhaps had as many obvious box office hits at Saldana...but she was nominated for an OSCAR, and in some back-handed way, isn't that the most sure-fired way of box office acceptance (regardless of talent?) Regina King has been around longer and is a tremendous talent who hasn't been offered the opportunity to carry big budgets. I think in some respects studios can't afford to take risks, hence why big hollywood movies are in such dire conditions - but surely someone has to put their foot down and start somewhere? if not then what is the point?

  • B | November 27, 2012 11:49 AMReply

    This sh*t is bogus. It just is. So, I guess next Alicia Keys will be Aretha Franklin in a biopic, and Solange will be Whitney Houston. (Ooops, no wait, isn't Solange playing Diana freaking Ross in some biopic?!) I'm so done with hollywood b.s. Just like with the Nina Simone film, I will not spend a penny of my money on this film. Hands down, this role was meant for Jesse L. Martin or someone of his looks and acting caliber. Smh.

  • Grace | December 3, 2012 7:50 AM

    Bogus is right. Great comments. We have to just try not to care because the people who make these films don't.

  • Roxie | November 27, 2012 1:08 AMReply

    What's that no, I mean orville?@?@?

  • Blackman | November 26, 2012 11:50 PMReply

    Another Bi-racial Actor WINS! Black folks are sick and tired of the "Friendly Face, Bright-Light, Damn Near White" actor pushed upon the masses. We ARE who we ARE. Blue Black, jet black, dark brown, chocolate, coco, latte, mocha mahogony, almond etc. (you get the picture). Yet why do the face most palitable to Whiteness is constantly chosen??? BECAUSE WHITENESS CHOOSES IT. Remember this, anything whiteness chooses from the Dark Pool, can ALWAYS be rejected. Fugg em. who they making it for???? Not BLACKNESS.

  • Nadine | November 27, 2012 8:05 PM

    @Turner ... but relevant.

  • turner | November 27, 2012 11:35 AM

    Colorism: The most boring shit on earth!

  • dee | November 27, 2012 9:50 AM

    Come ON!!! He is more black than white(bi-racial) that is a ridiculous comment...try another excuse other than playing the race card.

  • Troy | November 27, 2012 12:03 AM

    So 50 years ago was more biracial lighter skin actors getting roles or blue black actors? Does every single facet of black american society need to be showed in a positive light to change your outlook on the future. How much darker is Jesse than Lenny really?

  • Adam Scott Thompson | November 26, 2012 11:26 PMReply

    Mercy, mercy me.

  • Alex | December 1, 2012 6:19 AM


  • Orville | November 26, 2012 10:55 PMReply

    I am not apologizing for my comment because Hollywood consistently does this first with the Nina Simone biopic hiring the mixed race Hispanic Zoe Saldana. Now half white Lenny Kravitz playing Marvin Gaye. So what does this say about the dark skinned black actors that are being ignored? People want to politically correct but this white washing of black icons is insulting and disgusting. It is like Hollywood is saying black people aren't good enough and that they need someone half white or mixed race for film roles to sell to the general audience.

  • Orville | November 28, 2012 4:25 PM

    @Jahari, look I know you want to be politically correct but I know there are black people who agree with me but are afraid to speak up for fear of upsetting the mulattoes. However, why can't a movie about a black icon actually cast an actor that resembles the black icon? Why must it always be someone half white and mixed race? Why must these mulattoes always get ahead of authentic black people? Also some of these mulatto people don't like black people you do realize this don't you! Some of the mulattoes are extremely hypocritical they play with race when it is convenient for their acting careers they take on black roles not meant for them when it is convenient.

    Jesse L Martin looks very similar to Marvin Gaye he's a superior actor. Lenny Kravtiz is a terrible actor he hasn't proven himself nor has he paid his dues. Big deal he's been in Precious and Hunger Games due to his fame but he doesn't have the track record Jesse L Martin has. Also,

  • Jahari | November 28, 2012 3:17 PM

    Are you really arguing that Lenny Kravitz should not be cast as Marvin Gaye because of his mixed heritage? Just FYI most African Americans who are direct descendants of slaves have a mixed heritage. My skin tone is dark, however, my maternal great-great-grandfather was Irish. This is an old argument that like all forms of racism should die a quick death. The role should go to the actor with the most talent to pull it off. Not to the one whose racial make-up is most identical to Marvin Gaye. I get your point though. You want the actor to resemble the person that he is playing. I respect that. Now if he was cast in the role of G. W. Bush we would have a problem with historical inaccuracies. :) Did you know that when Diane Ross was cast as Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues some argued that she was too dark for the role? She gave an amazing performance. Let's hope that Lenny does the same.

  • Donella | November 27, 2012 7:04 PM

    I have to agree with the others. The half-breed comment is out of line and has really brought down the level of discussion.

  • troy | November 27, 2012 12:05 AM

    So Marvin Gaye has no white neanderthal in him. Im jealous Im 10x as black as he is and Im only 3 generations removed from white ancestors.

  • Carl | November 26, 2012 11:00 PM

    And we are not apologizing for calling you an idiot. Referring to mixed people as "half-breed", like a dog, makes you a fucking asshole.

  • ALM | November 26, 2012 10:22 PMReply

    "....unlike other Marvin Gaye projects, the music rights for this one have been cleared."<<< Well, well, are we to deduce that even though the project will be from an overseas company, that music industry politics are at work here? Why give rights to this project and not the project that Jesse L. Martin is attached to? Jesse is not only a well respected dramatic actor who looks like Gaye, but Martin did Broadway also. Martin as born to play this role, and this is such a no brainer that it's not even funny. It looks like music industry politics say that since Lenny is a rock icon, he trumps Martin?

  • Charles Judson | November 27, 2012 9:19 PM

    @ALM 1) Did I ever say Martin is NOT marketable? His marketability is in comparison to Kravitz who has a higher profile, and for much longer, than Martin. What I'm saying is that Martin is a much harder sell on the foreign market. Janet Jackson is not a strong actor by any stretch of the imagination, she's still an easier sell for foreign sales agents in some markets (which is a major factor for this level of production) than Nia Long, Viola Davis or even Kerry Long. THE HELP only did 20% of its Box Office overseas. That means that there's only a few territories the film screened in and only in a few of those that it did well. If you can't sell a film in 10, 15, 30 territories, it becomes difficult to make your budget back. If you have someone with some level of success, but you're limited to selling to the 15 territories they're best known in, that means you have to work hard scoop up all 15. If you can sell to 60 territories, you can probably afford to lose a few, still score the biggies (UK, Germany, France, etc.) and round it out with smaller ones. With someone more of a draw, it means you can often get three or four companies to pick up the rights for multiple territories at once and not piecemeal 15 or 20 through your own sweat equity and dealings with 15 or 20 companies. TAKERS was a film that Sony handled most of the international on its own, so it got the same treatment (on a vastly smaller scale) that a Bond flick would. Most films won't be so lucky. It's usually localized, smaller, specialized companies that know the markets, the channels and the players, with names most of us don't know, let alone can pronounce. It's a harsh truth, but it's a truth. This is a business. This is not Charles Judson says. This is what nearly every film buyer, distributor and producer says ad nausem at festival panels for the last 10 years. This is stuff you can Google for days. If you cast Martin, that may mean cutting your budget. Can you realistically do a Marvin Gaye film on $5, 6, 7 million? Maybe not if you're already losing 10% of that to music licensing, of if you can't even secure the licensing. And it's a period piece. If you've got a savvy team, then maybe yes, maybe you can pull off the best film possible with the better actor on a lesser budget. Producers do it all the time. DRIVE is a film that went from $30 million with Hugh Jackman to $15 million with Ryan Gosling. 2) It's not Apples to Oranges. HUNGER GAMES is still a film that went to dozens of territories overseas, JOYFUL NOISE did not. A foreign distributor can slap that on a poster, use that in the trailer, use that to pitch local media to cover, or review the film. "From HUNGER GAMES", or “From AVATAR”. And they do it all the time. But, if JOYFUL NOISE didn't do well domestically, how is that supposed to be a plus for someone you're approaching in the UK or France, let alone some place like Belgium or the Ukraine to pick up the film? "Trust me. My knowledge of American audiences plus my gut tells me that you can risk taking my film to your market. Please ignore everything you know about the French market and the films made locally and let my film compete against both your homegrown films and IRON MAN 3's gargantuan marketing budget. No, don't worry that no one knows the stars or the director, or the concept doesn't translate well. Please ignore that overseas and foreign theatrical is about it for smaller films and only local films and films like SHREK 3 usually can score VOD or cable. So don't worry that your one shot is a theatrical run, with my star that no one knows locally all that well, with a director that may or may not be known, that's a drama, a genre typically doesn't travel well, and there will be no, or little DVD or Online. Your sometimes thin margins, cobbled together from several films to create an overall profit, mean nothing to me, only my gut." 3) Let's not forget we are talking about three DIFFERENT projects all at various stages. Which means they'll have differing structures in presales (if they're lucky), team, casting, budget, financing, script, and ancillaries (i.e. in this case ability to get to the licensing). You can have everything but a script financiers love. Or a script, but no cast. A strong cast, but a director that financiers aren't on board with. A script everyone loves on the team, including the financiers, but no actor wants to really jump on to do. This is a much more complex topic than most folks are making it out to be. 4) AND AGAIN. Minus the films, Lenny Kravitz still has a higher profile overseas: "Culture minister Frederic Mitterrand made the musician an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters at a ceremony in Paris. Kravitz's albums regularly chart in upper reaches of [France's] top 100, his latest album peaking at number seven - much higher than it managed in either the US or UK. Other people to be inducted into l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres include Paradis, Martin Scorsese, Bob Dylan, George Clooney and Super Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto." Lenny Kravitz accepts French honour -

  • ALM | November 27, 2012 6:44 PM

    @ Charles Judson: You're basing Jesse L. Martin's marketability and "ability to make money and fill seats" based on ENSEMBLE films. Neither "Rent" nor "Joyful Noise" were about Jesse Martin. A ton of people contributed to the casts of both projects. Actually many would say that the lack of excitement for "Joyful Noise" falls on the shoulder of either Oscar nominee Queen Latifah or music legend Dolly Parton. Both women had large enough roles to be tasked with doing promotion for the film when it was released. You in turn are using the same logic of the ensemble casts of "Precious" and "The Hunger Games" to campaign for Lenny as the fit for this project. Once again, Lenny was not even a major enough character in either film to be tasked with more than a small amount of promotion. The Marvin Gaye biopic will focus on one character. You are using ensemble films to make a case for a biopic. Apples and oranges

  • Charles Judson | November 27, 2012 2:50 PM

    @Darkan Angela Bassett wasn't an unknown. She was in BOYZ N THE HOOD (Oscar nominated), 2 John Sayles pictures including the well received PASSION FISH (Oscar nominated) and MALCOM X (Oscar nominated) prior to WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT. She also starred in the THE JACKSON miniseries on ABC (seen by 38.3 million). Those were 4 performances she got much praise for. WLGTWI came after (and was part of) a nice build up. She wasn't a lead yet, that I agree with. However, she still had the roles prior to that that made her casting (and path) much easier. As for Paula Patton, she was in DEJA VU and IDLEWILD prior to PRECIOUS. So it wasn't her first acting gig. IDLEWILD was a notable failure, but still notable thanks to the still hot off their Grammy win Outkast. So her profile was raised through that. But, DEJA VU was a success. So you have a name on the rise in a smaller part which helps. As for Mariah and Lenny, my point is not that Lenny by himself was the draw for financing, it's that his name on a casting sheet is a plus. It just is. Maybe another actor could have been picked, for sure. However, would that actor with a lesser name helped raise the profile of the film? Doubtful. Would it have hurt? In relative terms, no. So if it's either go with zero sum casting, or get someone with a name to make financing before production easier and getting distribution post Sundance more assured, you go with a name. Could they have gotten a veteran actor with a name to take the part? Maybe. But, who with a name wants a small part like that, in a film that's got a dour as hell, hard to market subject, wants to work with a director who did the love it or hate it, praise it as crazy genius or damn it as crazy folly SHADOWBOXER, AND work for what's likely going to be scale? It's not like PRECIOUS was a project that was burning up prior to production that folks were dying to work on. It wasn't a passion project. MIDNIGHT LOVE is an $8 million film. It's not a $30 million film. It's not a $100 million film. For that level, Lenny Kravitz is enough. Would he be for $30 million? No. No one--well almost no one--would be crazy enough to put him as the lead of even a $30 million film. But, a Marvin Gaye pic + Lenny Kravitz + the music rights is a much stronger draw than Marvin Gaye + music rights + Jesse L. Martin. Kravitz's 2011 Black and White Europe Tour (and past tours going back two decades) gives him an overseas cache that Martin doesn't. To me, this highlights how much we collectively have to develop projects that help elevate folks like Martin to equalize that, or we have to not play by the current rules and create an alternate financing system that gets us to the same ends. But, again, the new game is mostly in outfits like Legendary Pictures and they're playing at the $500 million dollar level. The days of getting a first look distribution deal for smaller productions under $10 and $25 million has been going the way of the dinosaur. As long as AFFRM continues to be one of the few new ideas that's being offered, let alone stuck around-- and looks to do so for sometime--you're going to continue to see this happen.

  • Darkan | November 27, 2012 1:35 PM

    @Charles, btw, Precious was Paula and Lenny's first acting gig. They were not bankable or viable talent to be attached to any film project at that when they starred in Precious. Lenny had NO acting credits. Lee got the money mostly based on Mariah's attachment to the film if you know anything about that story and that was coning off the deal of another film that Lee had in place with Mariah that had some budget attached. So yes, Lenny was (GIVEN the role that ANYONE could have played) in Precious.

  • Darkan | November 27, 2012 1:28 PM

    @ Charles, there is some merit to what you wrote but as I said before based on the fact that it is the "Marvin Gaye" bio pic, Lenny Kravitz name is not what people will be going to the theaters to see. The movie was already sold on the name alone as it was with "What's love got to do with it?" which is why they were able to go with an UNKNOWN (Angela Bassett). Anyone would be a fool to think that the financing of this film is contingent on Lenny Kravitz being in it. I mean really, "Lenny Kravitz? Lenny is known yes but he has never been that huge of a rock star in noteriety or sales and his fanbase is not as large in R&B to be the main selling point of him being the lead in a film. You and I know how the numbers work. Who are they planning on marketing this film to? I'd love to hear some of the thoughts of the international fans of R&B/Motown music who would more than likely be the fanbase. Does anyone have the current Ulmer scale?

  • Charles Judson | November 27, 2012 1:04 PM

    @Darkan First, I meant that Martin is one of the most talented cats working. So I should have been clearer on that. Two, the LAW & ORDER franchise is one of the longest running TV shows in U.S. history and has done well overseas. However, the show went off 2 years ago--think I got the date wrong on that one somewhere--and Martin left 2 years before that. Being 4 years out of anything that high profile hurts you, regardless of what industry you're in. If you went from VP of a $500 million biz to VP of several $10 million businesses there has to be something special and unique about those small businesses to get anyone to look at your resume and not question what have you been doing that was noteworthy at those other companies. In film that's even more so, especially if a film is riding on you to get greenlit. It's unfortunate, but extra points taken off because LAW & ORDER was also an ensemble show (and in truth Jerry Orbach, Sam Waterson and S. Epatha Merkerson probably edge out everyone else). You can look to pretty much any successful ensemble show either critically or in audience numbers and very few folks breakout big after that or find instant success. THE WIRE, FRIENDS, ER. How many flops has Matthew Perry or Courtney Cox had? Andre Braugher has had 4 shows post HOMICIDE that were high profile, 3 well reviewed, all died early deaths. Add to it, it's the franchise that has the cache, not the people on the show. L&O has been remade at least 4 times overseas and spun off at least three times here. The original UGLY BETTY has been remade 18 times outside of the Colombian original. Do you know any of the names of the original cast? Do any of us know who stars in the Georgia version? Or the Mexican one? Viet Nam? Probably not, but we know the story and the concept. Three, Lenny Kravitz recently has been in the HUNGER GAMES, a film that did extremely well and made $400 million overseas. Again, no knock against Martin's ability, but $400 million ($700 million worldwide) in 2012 vs. JOYFUL NOISE's $30 million makes a difference. We can argue all day long about who will and won't put buts in seats, but the business works on getting named actors. Martin is a name, and has a strong reputation. Worldwide it's still not anywhere near as strong as Kravitz's. That's just how the business sees it. Do you think PRECIOUS had Mariah Carey and Kravitz (and Paula Patton) in it simply because Lee Daniels looked at his CD collection one day? Or, because at the end of the day, a dramatic film about abuse, with fantasy sequences, based on a 13-year-old book, with a mostly Black cast, an unknown lead, a supporting part played by someone mostly known for comedy and a show that never got higher than #126 in the ratings--on a network that no longer existed, is a near impossible movie to finance, let alone convince anyone to distribute? I'm NOT saying Kravitz is the more talented one. If I had the money, I would probably go with Martin hands down. It's Martin's passion project which add to it. However, if I'm approaching this as a producer, Kravitz easily ticks off more boxes when it comes to everything a financier or a distribution company will be looking for. Only Horror and Action films are more immune to early/non-distribution death by casting. Nearly every other genre requires you need name talent. That's just the business as it is right now.

  • Troy | November 27, 2012 12:07 PM

    Very familiar with Jesse but he is rendered insignificant by you saying he was born to play somebody else.

  • Darkan | November 27, 2012 11:35 AM

    @ Charles "Lenny Kravitz has a worldwide footprint over Jessie L Martin, who is definitely one of the most talented cats working, helps get that film made." Strike one... You are aware that that's irrelevant in regards to the film being made right Charles? We're talking about one of the greatest soul singers of all time! It was bound to be made on the strength of Marvin's name alone and should have been made 10 times over years ago. Lenny Kravitz's name is not adding to getting this film made, if anything it's pissing many people off and just bringing press in having people who know and love the legacy of Marin Gaye to scratch their heads and ask "why" over lunch. Lenny's name IS NOT gonna put people asses into the seats in the theaters no different than Zoe's situation with the Nina film. "It's not a knock against Martin to admit that being one on "Law and Order" really only helps him state side and even that doesn't cross over into film and is at this point a lifetime ago in industry times." Strike #2. You do know Charles that Law and order is one of the longest running tv shows of all time and that the show reruns air all over the world in redundant replay which is why Martin was initially the first choice and is still in the running to play an R&B artist who was and still is world renown especially over seas where they love R&B? Oh and strike #3 is for you saying that Lenny Kravitz, (who I appreciate and adore as a rocker) "is definitely one of the most talented cats working". Lenny has still yet to prove himself as a strong, bonafide, leading dramatic male actor and no, "precious and Hunger games doesn't prove anything as far as his qualifications to his level of an actor because there are tons of actors name and unnamed that could have played those roles. Seems to me that Lenny has been thrown the majority of his roles to them. He owes his so far lackluster acting career to Lee Daniels who has a history of just giving roles to musical artists that he likes. I'd love to see any of Lenny's audition tapes or screen tests in where he was so phenomenal that he made himself the only and obvious choice to be nominated for the roles he has played or is currently in the running for. Smdh.

  • Charles Judson | November 27, 2012 9:19 AM

    Yes, industry politics did have something to do with it. Is that really a shock or a knock on this film? It's a film with an $8 million budget. With licensing fees for top songs from artists like Gaye, you're talking about $200k ($250k isn't out of the question) easily if they just wanted to use any portion of "Sexual Healing", "What's Going On" and "Let's Get it On". He had 3 or 4 hits from the MIDNIGHT LOVE album and if you just go with the low end of $75K, you're talking about $150k minimum. Add that up, you rapidly get to $600k for just 3 to 5 songs on the low end, to $800k or more. That's basically 10% of your budget for a under $10 million period piece--let me repeat, a period piece--set in the 1980s. Of course politics are going to come into this. EMI, like most companies, is going to want to protect their intellectual property and get as much money upfront as they can--even if there's no amount of film "dirt" that could realistically undermine their sales, and a decently made film will probably add to their bank accounts. For the production, they want to get as many songs as possible and not spend 15 to 25 percent of their budget on just the licensing if they can get that closer to 10. And yes, Lenny Kravitz who has a worldwide footprint over Jesse L. Martin, who is definitely one of the most talented cats working, helps get that film made. RENT was 7 years ago and a financial flop. JOYFUL NOISE limped to get just $30 million. It's not a knock against Martin to admit that being one on LAW & ORDER really only helps him State side and even then doesn't cross over into film and is at this point a lifetime ago in industry terms. The transition in TV to film, and just TV to TV, has always been hard and slow. Outside of George Clooney, Anthony Edwards hasn't really been out there since ER and it was a good 9 years between Juliana Margulies leaving ER and her getting THE GOOD WIFE. Hell, even Clooney took till THREE KINGS and THE PERFECT STORM before things started to move for him on the film side. That's after the trifecta of sub par with BATMAN & ROBIN, ONE FINE DAY and THE PEACEMAKER and following that up with OUT OF SIGHT and THE THIN RED LINE. Eddie Murphy going from TV into doing 48 HRS, TRADING PLACES and BEVERLY HILLS COP (a role originally for Mickey Rourke and then Stallone) back to back is the exception, not the rule.

  • ALM | November 27, 2012 8:40 AM

    @ Troy: Just because you don't know Jesse doesn't make him insignificant.

  • Troy | November 27, 2012 12:06 AM

    S/O to insignificant people born to play other people. Who will play Jesse playing Marvin if Jesse wins an Oscar?

  • Africameleon | November 26, 2012 8:54 PMReply

    @ Orville... C'mon man/woman, did you really just say that???
    I agree that Kravitz doesn't seem like the write choice, but on the basis of his acting abilities to date and not his complexion. I hope we don't delve into another Simone/Saldana stream of debate. Denzel Washington played Malcolm X, Lawrence Fishburen played Ike Turner, and Jeffrey Wright played MLK. They each played the HELL out of those roles because of their talent! I agree, Jesse L. Martin would have been great; and I would have liked to see Keith Robinson (Dreamgirls, This Christmas, Love that Girl) in the role as well. Both actors can actually sing. And what happened to Usher Raymond being considered for this role? Was that a different project or did I miss something?

  • Roxie Roker | November 26, 2012 8:52 PMReply

    Wow. Half-breed. Is this a cher song or shadow and act? Halle Berry and her half-breed self needs to quit acting too huh. And might as well boycott anything Alicia Keys is doing. Are you the same person who had comments about Tracee Ross? People need to check themselves...

  • No | November 26, 2012 9:04 PM

    Look, a man is a man, not a half breed. The same goes for Halle Berry. Do you feel the same way about Frederick Douglass? Another "half-breed"? Mr. Obama? I really find it offensive that you would even have the temerity to use the Kravitz's mother's name to cast your vicious insults. Yeah, you need to check yourself.

  • D.C. Kirkwood | November 26, 2012 8:43 PMReply

    Now are people going to protest against him like they did Zoe and Beyonce? Lenny Kravitz can't act his way out of a paper bag. They are simply attaching his name to promote tickets sales. Next!!!

  • Nadine | November 27, 2012 8:15 PM

    I'm not saying it is right. He's just crossover...

  • Troy | November 27, 2012 12:09 AM

    yes cause he is the biggest black star in the music business. haha. Damn people making commercial projects to make money.

  • LeonRaymond | November 26, 2012 8:05 PMReply

    Hold tight , Hold tight, now lets do it on the basis of acting -who was better for that role Jesse L Martin (who resembled Marvin Gaye ) and is 5 times the trained actor and once again Lenny is very Light skin. But back to acting Lenny has don't parts that truly stunt acting and cameos but I know he's on the up and coming and did very good jobs in Precious and Hunger Games but Jesse is a trained actor did we forget his powerful turn in RENT on Broadway where an good actors become great and get their chops and Lenny got his chops on yeah with a guitar. -Jesse was kick ass for all those seasons on L&O and Lenny was kick ass on all those seasons of OOPS nothing. This one does not sit well with me at all why couldn't they have chosen a real actor to play a powerful Iconic figure like Marvin Gaye. Jamie Fox was at least in the ball park and doing TV and some films with he did RAY and then we saw the powerful performance he did on that and Collateral. Lenny has no pedigree in film. And as honest as even he is, I bet he would be the first to say he is miscast. I want apologize if went to Light skin thang cause that is such a worn road so I want to point out and it keep it about acting and if anybody out there has a DVD of Lenny is some filmed that I missed in which he gave a powerful performance please call it to my attention!!

  • Darkan | November 26, 2012 7:08 PMReply

    Shaking my head violently & uncontrollably trying to painfully understand this.

  • Darkan | November 27, 2012 1:38 PM

    @ Troy, you know it brother.

  • Troy | November 27, 2012 12:12 AM

    why is the fakeness that is all movies causing you so much pain?

  • Orville | November 26, 2012 7:05 PMReply

    This is so sad a half breed playing the role of a real black man.

  • Blackman | November 26, 2012 11:39 PM

    Well, at least you honest with your 'feelings' most folks keep them to themselves and Explode on the inside with stress. I always admire honesty. Even if it is racist, biased or inflammatory. Apparently these people on this board have never read books by racist Westerners. They speak Just Like You. So why can't you speak just like them on the other end? I don't get it.

  • ALM | November 26, 2012 10:23 PM

    @ Orville: That's a rough statement. There's a lot of hate behind that statement. I would rather see Jesse L. Martin in the role, but attacking Lenny's ethnic makeup in this manner is wrong.

  • Carl | November 26, 2012 8:50 PM

    Orville you continue to show that you are a fucking idiot.

  • Winston | November 26, 2012 8:02 PM

    Who ARE you people? And what drives you to bring such ignorance to this informative blog?

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