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Chadwick Boseman, who starred as Jackie Robinson in 42, has closed a deal to portray James Brown in Universal and Imagine’s untitled biopic of the Godfather of Soul.
Tate Taylor, who helmed The Help, is directing and is also producing along with Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins.
Mick Jagger and Victoria Pearman also producing under their Jagged Films banner. The deal may finally get the long-gestating movie project off the ground. Grazer has been working it since 2001 and at one point had Eddie Murphy attached to star. Wesely Snipes even circled as a potential lead, while Spike Lee was at one point attached to direct.
Brown is best known for his songs such as “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “I Got You (I Feel Good).” The R&B legend rose from humble beginnings to the height of stardom — but he also battled drug addiction, was arrested for domestic violence, and faced financial ruin several times.
Boseman, who broke into movies with 42 after a strong of TV appearances, will next be seen in Ivan Reitman’s football drama Draft Day.
He is repped by Greene & Associates Talent Agency, Management 360 and Ziffren Brittenham.
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