Jill Scott Will Play One Of James Brown's Wives In Biopic Starring Chadwick Boseman

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by Tambay A. Obenson
November 1, 2013 10:39 AM
6 Comments
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Jill Scott and Dan Aykroyd have joined that cast of Universal's James Brown biopic, titled Get On Up, which is currently set for a FridayOctober 172014 release.

Scott will play James Brown's wife, although we don't yet know which wife that will be, as Brown married 3 different times: Velma Warren, in 1953. Deidre Jenkins, in 1970. And Adrienne Lois Rodriguez in 1984.

And since the film is supposed to cover roughly 30 years of his life - from his humble beginnings in the early 1950s, to his peak years in the 1970s, to his struggles with addiction, and domestic violence, and eventually near-financial ruin in the 1980s - she really could be playing any one of the 3. Although it'll likely be one of the first two.

Dan Aykroyd will play the president of Universal Attractions, at one time one of New York's largest agencies. The agency represented Jame Brown for over 40 years. 

Chadwick Boseman is playing Brown in the Tate Taylor-directed film.

Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer will reunite with their The Help director, to take supporting roles in the film, playing Susie Brown, James Brown's mother, and his aunt, Anne Tunney, respectively.

True Blood star, Nelsan Ellis most recently signed up to play Bobby Byrd, James Brown’s longtime friend and musical collaborator.

And finally Lennie James (currently starring on AMC's Low Winter Sun) previously joined the cast as well, to play James Brown’s father, Joseph James Brown, in the upcoming biopic. 

Shooting on the project begins this fall, with Brian Grazer producing alongside Mick Jagger, for Universal Pictures.

Taylor plans to shoot the film in Mississippi, including filming at the Mississippi Coliseum on the state fairgrounds, where Brown performed a concert in February 1969. 

Promising a warts and all telling of Brown's life story on film, the screenplay was penned by Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth (they wrote the script for Fair Game, the Naomi Watts and Sean Penn film).

With this stellar cast, we can only assume that this will probably be an awards season contender in 2014/2015.
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6 Comments

  • onyx | November 8, 2013 12:39 PMReply

    Here's hoping Tate Taylor won't make anymore comments like the one he reportedly stated to TheGrio.com when The Help was released:

    “The scene where Viola Davis is sitting on a toilet in a garage in 108 degrees, and then a white woman comes out and tells her to hurry up was visually brutal. To me that’s worse than seeing a lynching. It just is.” The spam filter won't allow me to post the link, but the article, but a quick internet search can be done with this info: The Grio.com, article titled Director: People are too critical of 'The Help' by Chris Witherspoon from August 15, 2011

  • Tina | November 8, 2013 10:03 AMReply

    yuck
    I can't stand her

  • CareyCarey | November 1, 2013 6:54 PMReply

    "Promising a warts and all telling of Brown's life story on film"

    NO... you're kidding me?! Who would have thought it, a black film showing all the warts of a black person? Lets see if that's a prescription for success. Hmmm, a black crooked cop, slaves, maids, butlers, chauffeurs and a flip-flop girl has proven to be the road to happiness, so this is probably (for many) a stairway to the Oscars.

    I can see it now, the movie opens on a scene of poverty in the back woods of Georgia. James Brown will come out barefoot, dancing and broke. The scene will shift to him working on a chain gang (his warts includes going to prison) but still dancing... keeping everybody happy.

    Upon his release we might get a glimpse of him singing one of his early songs "Please Please Please". All the black folks can relate to that. But the scene quickly changes to him doing the drug PCB and beating his white wife (and shooting her car). But of course, we have to keep the black folks engaged and give them something to cheer about, so James breaks out with hit song "We Are Black and We Are Proud". Oh lord, that's sure to bring black folks out of their seat and clapping their hands. Black pride was the new thang. But hold up, an Oscar movie has to give the drummer some so get ready for the next scene.

    Well, as with The Butler, this film will use flashbacks from the 60's as a way to engage the old school black viewers and play on their sympathy, AND to remind them who's really the boss. So, the next scene will be that one we've seen a million times. You know, the one in which white policemen in riot gear beat the shit out of defenseless blacks while spraying them with high powered water hose. Yep, I can see it now, that song is playing.... "say it loud, we're black and we're proud"... blacks are dancing in the street, then... here comes the attack dogs and 3 foot oak batons upside their heads.

    OH BOY, this is going to be a good movie that blacks and whites can enjoy. As an added bonus, just like "12 years" and "The Butler" we might even learn a little something about our past.

    See you at this star studded event.

  • Amari | November 1, 2013 11:41 AMReply

    I have to admit, Jill Scott has improved as an actress and this probably will be what will show if she can transition, if she wishes to, from being a musician to an actress full-time if she so pleases.

  • Akimbo | November 8, 2013 10:52 AM

    She's still better at one than she is at the other. Love her to death, but I have my reservations. Her acting has improved, though.

  • ALM | November 1, 2013 6:40 PM

    Jill was actually an actress before she was a musician. She has mentioned this in interviews.

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