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Universal Sets 2014 Release Date for James Brown Biopic 'Get On Up,' Starring Chadwick Boseman UPDATED

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood August 29, 2013 at 1:17PM

UPDATE: Universal has set an Oscar-friendly 2014 release date for its James Brown biopic, now titled "Get On Up," starring Chadwick Boseman ("42"). It will hit theaters on October 17 of next year.
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Chadwick Boseman as Robinson in '42'
Chadwick Boseman as Robinson in '42'

UPDATE: Universal has set an Oscar-friendly 2014 release date for its James Brown biopic, now titled "Get On Up," starring Chadwick Boseman ("42"). It will hit theaters on October 17 of next year.

Here's the official synopsis:

Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis in "The Help"
Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis in "The Help"

Based on the incredible life story of the Godfather of Soul, the film will give a fearless look inside the music, moves and moods of Brown, taking audiences on the journey from his impoverished childhood to his evolution into one of the most influential figures of the 20th century.

EARLIER: In addition to "42" star Chadwick Boseman landing the role of James Brown in an upcoming biopic of the legendary musician for Universal, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are reportedly being eyed for supporting parts in the film. This would be a reunion between the two actresses and their "The Help" director Tate Taylor, who is set to direct the Brown biopic.

Spencer won the Oscar for her supporting turn in 2011's "The Help"; Davis scored a Best Actress nomination. 

Universal gave the greenlight to the long-in-the-works biopic once Boseman was on board.

The film, penned by Jez and John Henry Butterworth, charts Brown's early life of poverty in Georgia to his internationally famous R&B career in the 1960s and '70s, with hits that included "I Got You (I Feel Good)," "Please, Please, Please" and many more. 

The project, which has been gestating for more than a decade, began to come together when Taylor signed to direct. Per Variety, Boseman emerged as the top candidate for the lead a few weeks ago. 

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant confirmed that much of the film will be shot in Mississippi.

This article is related to: News, CASTING WATCH, casting, News, Viola Davis, Tate Taylor, Universal


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.