Cannes: Focus Picks Up Marvin Gaye Biopic

Marvin Gaye 1976 - H 2013
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Marvin Gaye 1976 - H 2013

The film, which stars Jesse L. Martin, will focus on the later part of Gaye’s life when he recorded one of his most lauded albums, "Midnight Love."

Focus Features International has picked up worldwide sales on director Julien Temple’s Untitled Marvin Gaye project, starring Jesse L. Martin (Rent, Law & Order) as the iconic soul singer.

Focus will present the title to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival next month.

With a screenplay by Matthew Broughton, the project will also star Golden Globe nominee Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges, Troy) in the role of Freddy Cousaert, Vicky Krieps (Hanna) as Eugenie and Dwight Henry (Beasts of the Southern Wild) as the singer’s father.

Frederick Bestall of Auric Entertainment and Jimmy De Brabant from Delux Productions are producing. Grammy Award-winning producer Vassal Benford will executive produce alongside Peter Davy. Vassal will also compose the score.

The film is currently shooting in Luxemburg and Belgium.

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The late Gaye sold more than 100 million albums and won several Grammy Awards. The film will focus on the later part of Gaye’s life when he recorded one of his most lauded albums, Midnight Love, during an 18-month period in Belgium and his close but turbulent friendship with promoter Cousaert. 

“Marvin Gaye is an iconic idol with a bittersweet story spanning success, fame and the torments of addiction,” FFI co-president Alison Thompson said. “With his long established track record in making movies about music and the great musicians who touch us all, Julien and his team are the ideal partners to bring the extraordinary life of Marvin Gaye to audiences around the world.”

The FFI slate also includes the true-life-based thriller Kill the Messenger, to be directed by Michael Cuesta and star Jeremy Renner; Kevin Macdonald's Black Sea, the adventure thriller to star Jude Law; Mike Leigh’s new film, starring Timothy Spall as the painter J.M.W. Turner; Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, starring Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin; the psychological thriller Oculus, directed by Mike Flanagan; Closed Circuit, the suspense thriller directed by John Crowley and starring Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall; and Ruairi Robinson’s thriller The Last Days on Mars starring Liev Schreiber, Olivia Williams and Romola Garai, which will make its world premiere at the 2013 Cannes International Film Festival in Directors’ Fortnight.

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