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Watch 4-Minutes Of Footage From Jesse L. Martin's Marvin Gaye Biopic

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act September 18, 2013 at 1:15PM

Wow. This just snuck up on me, because I wasn't exactly expecting to see any footage so soon, especially with no new updates since our last report on the project, in June, when it was revealed publicly that shooting had been suspended on Julien Temple’s Marvin Gaye biopic, Sexual Healing, starring Jesse L. Martin (as Gaye), S. Epatha Merkerson (as Marvin’s Gaye’s mother, Alberta Cooper Gay), and Dwight Henry (as Marvin Gaye’s father, Marvin Gay, Sr.).
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Jesse Williams/Marvin Gaye

Wow. This just snuck up on me, because I wasn't exactly expecting to see any footage so soon, especially with no new updates since our last report on the project, in June, when it was revealed publicly that shooting had been suspended on Julien Temple’s Marvin Gaye biopic, Sexual Healing, starring Jesse L. Martin (as Gaye), S. Epatha Merkerson (as Marvin’s Gaye’s mother, Alberta Cooper Gay), and Dwight Henry (as Marvin Gaye’s father, Marvin Gay, Sr.).

It was reported that there was a possibility that the film might not see completion (at least, not anytime soon), because Focus Features International, the company that picked up the project initially, and shopped it at the Cannes Film Festival last May, had pulled out.

Reasons for Focus' exited weren't given, unfortunately (unless we just missed that announcement), although, at the time, I thought that it might have something to do with what follows.

Crew members were said to have not yet been paid fully for their work on the film, with one of the film's producers, Jimmy De Brabant, telling ScreenDaily that there was apparently a cash flow problem with the American investor backing the film; although he added that the funding that was promised by this investor had not yet arrived, but emphasized patience with the film's cast and crew, suggesting that the money was indeed coming.

At the time, it was said that about 70% of the film had been shot.

Although I'm still really curious to hear Focus Features' reasons for dropping out. There might be more to this than is public currently.

It's still not clear to me where the project stands - whether the financing eventually did come, or if shooting is still in Limbo.

What I did dig up today was the below promo reel featuring footage from the film, as well as a scheduled release date of April 1st, 2014, which is a Tuesday, meaning a home video release. Although April 1, 2014 will mark the 30th anniversary of Marvin Gaye's death, so I'm sure it's no coincidence, and a theatrical release is in the film's future.

If I'm able to learn more about where the project stands, I'll share here. 

In the video, you'll see that David Harewood and Clarke Peters are part of the film's cast, which we didn't know previously.

The film is set in the early 1980s, and focuses on the making of the Midnight Love album, while Gaye was living in Belgium - a drug addict, considered something of a has-been at the time.

Also Brendan Gleeson co-stars, playing Freddy Cousaert, who helped Marvin get back into the swing of things.

Grammy Award-winning producer Vassal Benford is executive producing, and will also compose the score. 

Principal photography was taking place in Luxemburg and Belgium.

Here's your first look at the film:

This article is related to: Jesse L. Martin


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