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Marvin Gaye's Family Now Urging Jesse L. Martin To Walk Away From Julien Temple's Biopic

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act March 11, 2013 at 12:38PM

Bah! Humbug! It doesn't end...
8
Jesse L Martin


Bah! Humbug! It doesn't end...

Not to bring you down from the highs many of you were on after it was revealed that Jesse L. Martin had replaced the previously cast Lenny Kravitz, to play Marvin Gaye in Julien Temple's biopic of the man, titled Sexual Healing...

After Marvin Gaye's son (Marvin Gaye III), who's also a childhood friend of Kravitz, publicly urged Kravitz to "walk away from the role" when he was initially cast, adding that he was "shocked" that Lenny actually agreed to star in the project, calling it "shameful," Kravitz did even tually step down (to be replaced by Jesse L. Martin), although it's still not public why he walked away from the role, and whether he felt pressure from Gaye's son to do that. I'm sure Lenny will talk about this eventually... Unless he already has, and we've just missed it.

Now Janis Gaye, the late singer's second and last wife (he was married twice), is doing the same thing with Jesse L. Martin, urging him to follow in Lenny Kravitz's footsteps by stepping aay from staring in the movie.

Why? Well, Janis has never really approve of Temple's project anyway.

She says that she has “generally felt “very skeptical” about any 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 is also concerned that Temple’s film – which will focus on the latter half of Gaye’s life, his time in Belgium, a drug addict, essentially considered something of a has-been – would “focus on his drug abuse, and on other negative aspects of his life.

Well, obviously it will. It's a question of how balanced Temple's depiction of Gaye will be in the film.

The hurdles in front of anyone trying to make a Gaye biopic are several - a key one being 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.

Janis did give her reasons for why she thinks Lenny Kravitz walked away from the project, telling New York Daily News: "Ultimately, I think it was Lenny's heart and soul and conscience that caused him to step away," adding that, "Hopefully, that touches Jesse in the same way... I don't think Marvin is a very happy spirit right now."

He may/may not be, but I think Jesse L. Martin was fully aware of the controversy around the making of Temple's film, and walked into it ready to push forward, no matter who was for or against it. So, I don't expect Jesse to suddenly have a change of heart, especially since he's by dying to play Marvin Gaye for several years now - his own project pretty much dead. Martin had long been attached to star in another Marvin Gaye biopic that was to be directed by newcomer, Lauren Goodman, and produced by James Gandolfini.

It's been a long journey for the various Marvin Gaye projects that we've been following since this site was created almost 4 years ago, and it looks like Temple's film will be first off the blocks, without the approval of Gaye's son, and ex-wife.

It was early in 2011 that it had been given a greenlight, and financing for its $8 million budget; Principal photography was scheduled to begin in Belgium late 2011, but that didn't happen. There were some music rights issues outstanding.

An earlier report on this said that EMI, which holds the rights to Gaye’s music 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 Berry Gordy (who also opposed the project) to move forward with it, and it was strictly a music rights hold-up, which has now been resolved.

Shooting is now set to begin later this month in Europe, with Brendan Gleason co-starring alongside Jesse L. Martin as Gaye.

Let's see if this actually does move forward, or if it experiences further hold-ups, like say, Jesse L. Martin also eventually walks away from it...


This article is related to: Jesse L. Martin


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