Lenny Kravitz As Marvin Gaye In Julien Temple's 'Midnight Love' Project?

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by Courtney
November 19, 2012 2:58 PM
27 Comments
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We'll file this one under unconfirmed for now.

The London Evening Standard is reporting today that they've learned Lenny Kravitz has been tapped to play Marvin Gaye in British filmmaker Julien Temple's tentatively titled Midnight Love project (named after the album Marvin Gaye recorded in Brussels in the early 80s).

The film, which S&A has been following since it was first announced, 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. As we've reported several times, Janis Gaye, the late singer's second and last wife, apparently knew nothing about the project, stating last year that she was at her home in Rhode Island when she read about plans to make the film (maybe she read it here on Shadow And Act ;)).

Janis Gaye was said to be "very skeptical about attempts to bring Marvin Gaye's story to screen," as she has had difficulties trusting other involved parties over the years, since his death.

She was also concerned that Temple's film would "focus on his drug abuse, on other negative aspects of his life."

Well, obviously it would have, given the description of the project that we know.

And secondly, in terms of resistance to the project, there was the influence of Motown founder Berry Gordy to consider, who reportedly hasn't been keen on any Marvin Gaye film that painted him (Gordy) in a negative light.

An early 2012 report by the NY Post mentioned Berry Gordy's attempts to block film productions on the life on Marvin Gaye, adding: "He [Gordy] basically owns the rights to the Marvin Gaye story... And he's been quietly blocking the scripts and music because he doesn't want his name dragged through the mud," a source for the NY Post said. 

But the hurdles in front of anyone trying to make a Gaye biopic are multifold. One essential requirement is the rights to the music. Another is an actor capable of playing the singer; Then, there are the interests of his family to consider - those of his first wife, Anna Gordy, elder sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy, and of Janis Gaye and her children.

The last 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.

We're not sure about the role of his 2 wives - if they have any say in the matter anyway. But, basically, it looks like it'll be a challenge for any filmmaker interested in making a Marvin Gaye film to pass all those tests, and make everybody happy! So we're not sure what all this means for Temple's Midnight Love project, specifically, with today's news of Lenny Kravitz's alleged casting in the title role.

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).

Most of you, as I recall, were very excited about a Jesse L. Martin Marvin Gaye film, above all the others. So what do you think about Lenny Kravitz... if this is eventually confirmed?

In a flashback to 1977, watch the below rare interview with Marvin Gaye Sr And Marvin Gaye Jr. Of course, roughly 7 years later, father shot son twice, killing him instantly.

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27 Comments

  • Christopher | November 27, 2012 12:39 AMReply

    Yeesh! I wish someone would line up a tight script, a top notch director and just cast an unknown. The draw is the man's life, not who's playing him.

  • A.W. | November 25, 2012 8:20 PMReply

    I'm okay with Lenny, though I haven't seen him act outside of Precious (I think that was the one). Like most people, I've been waiting on the Jesse L. Martin version for what seems like a lifetime...

  • Ava | November 25, 2012 4:24 PMReply

    Wow, I was just on You Tube yesterday listening to some Marvin Gaye songs (and watching some rare clips) and today I come across this article. How serendipitous! Someone in the comments section of You Tube also mentioned Jessie L. Martin as having been attached to a Martin Gaye biopic. Martin is quite talented and would be a great casting choice. I love Lennie Kravitz but Jessie Martin has the acting chops and he does bear a resemblance to the legendary crooner (the way they both can make their eyes twinkle). Actor vs. Musician? I think I'd trust an actor, especially one of Martin's caliber and experience to bring that spirituality, sexuality and pathos that were recurring themes in Gaye's life and work. Sometimes lightning strikes and you get a Jamie Foxx in Ray, where the person is talented acting and as a musician but I appreciate how rare that is, especially these days.

  • Trina | November 23, 2012 11:22 AMReply

    Its just a movie. Relax.

  • Orville | November 23, 2012 3:37 PM

    Yes Marvin Gaye's biopic is just a movie but something deleterious is going on in Hollywood when a half white actor like Lenny Kravtiz is considered a good casting choice for Marvin Gaye a dark skinned African American man.

    Lenny Kravtiz is a terrible actor he doesn't have much range he's not as good as Jesse L Martin who is a perfect choice for a Marvin Gaye biopic. Both Jesse and Marvin Gaye are gay black men both are excellent singers. Jesse L Martin is a perfect casting choice for a Marvin Gaye biopic. Numerous biographies have discussed Marvin Gaye's homosexuality in depth visit your local public library and read these books for yourself.

    Hollywood is always white washing movies the NY Times when published an article about this issue. The Nina Simone biopic also got a white washing when the mixed race Hispanic Zoe Saldana got the lead and her skin was darkened to look more like Simone. Next, Saldana also had to wear a bad afro to appear more black. Why not just hire actors who look closer to the image of these African American heroes?

  • lauren | November 23, 2012 1:40 PM

    Exactly!

  • anon | November 22, 2012 12:34 PMReply

    mixed race pepople are having a field day in hollywood it was only a mater of time befor it reached the men. black people we really HAVE been replaced! Our blk icos are no longer respected enough to be played by actual BLACK PEOPLE!
    well at least he can sing lol!

  • Miles Ellison | November 22, 2012 12:09 PMReply

    The casting in these films is clearly not an accident.

  • Nadell | November 22, 2012 12:01 PMReply

    Luv Kravitz but folks better start a petition (not like it really helps). NO WAY should he be playing Gaye!!! Kravitz is a rocker, Gaye is the epitome of RnB.
    And I guess when it comes to bios now as long as someone is BLACK anyone can take on the role of a black icon....Kravitz looks like Gaye as much as Gabrielle Union looks like Aaliyah!

  • Orville | November 19, 2012 11:13 PMReply

    I thought Jesse L Martin was going to make a biopic about Marvin Gaye? Last time I checked Marvin Gaye wasn't half white like Lenny Kravtiz he looks nothing like Marvin and he's a terrible actor. Well I sincerely hope this biopic does not ignore Marvin Gaye's homosexuality because the man wasn't straight. Lenny Kravtiz is not a good actor he's a very talented musician but I think he would not do this film justice. Also, I feel really bad for black actors in Hollywood all these crappy singers like Andre Benjamin and now Lenny Kravitz are getting roles over talented black actors like Jesse L Martin.

  • turner | November 22, 2012 6:02 AM

    Orville! Always on the job; tracking everyone's racial lineage and sexuality and weaving it into agenda.

  • me | November 22, 2012 2:26 AM

    "Marvin Gaye's homosexuality because the man wasn't straight" … How the hell would you know that? AND "crappy singers like Andre Benjamin" bitch, get your life. You are delusional.

  • B | November 20, 2012 10:43 PM

    Orville, I agree 100% with everything you wrote. The same thoughts and questions were going through my mind as I read this.

  • Troy | November 20, 2012 2:02 AM

    So do non-actors not have to audition for their roles or something?

  • gerardo | November 19, 2012 10:44 PMReply

    I hope someone seriously considers Jesse L. Martin. in my opinion he is the perfect actor/singer for the role!

  • ALM | November 19, 2012 9:11 PMReply

    Here we go.....another overseas film about an American icon with the wrong casting choice. Jesse L. Martin is the chosen one for this role, point blank period. I love Lenny like everyone else does, but no ma'am and no sir on his casting in this project. No ma'am and no sir to Will Smith also.....I'm not sure about Terrance Howard.....Terrance may be able to do it. There is probably an unknown actor who could do this justice also.

  • starry118 | November 21, 2012 12:52 AM

    Jesse, no doubt. What is wrong with these casting directors/producers? I think they're just trying to get on our nerves now.

  • Troy | November 20, 2012 2:04 AM

    very limited choices. I guess their wasnt supposed to be any auditions.

  • Blackman | November 19, 2012 8:59 PMReply

    No COLORISM argument?

    Oh, that's right no Africans in the mix for consideration.

    Tribalism at its best.

  • Miles Ellison | November 19, 2012 8:41 PMReply

    I guess Tyler Perry was busy.

  • Donella | November 19, 2012 7:49 PMReply

    Jesse L. Martin would be the best choice for Marvin Gaye. I believe Lenny Kravitz would do great justice to Bob Marley or Fela Kuti.

  • Suzanne | November 24, 2012 6:32 PM

    Are you smokin'? Lenny Kravitz as Fela Kuti? Go back and try again. Nigerians are insulted at the mere thought of having a biracial American in the same sentence as Fela. You know darn well that Lenny could not play Fela. A more realistic choice would be Sahr Ngaujah, who played Fela on the Broadway run, or Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is internationally recognizable Nigerian Brit, but not quite a household name.

  • Donella | November 20, 2012 6:19 PM

    LOL I'm an optimist!

  • Nemesis | November 20, 2012 3:22 AM

    Um... Kravitz would do great justice to Bob Marley or Fela Kuti...? :/

  • BluTopaz | November 19, 2012 5:41 PMReply

    HELL NO IN SIZE 150 BRIGHT RED FONT.

  • starry118 | November 21, 2012 12:46 AM

    LOL...this.

  • Shala | November 19, 2012 4:37 PMReply

    Jesse L. Martin would be the best choice in my book... if we ever get to see that movie. But I can get onboard with Kravitz.

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