Rawls biopic on Pathway to big screen


Legendary singer Lou Rawls is getting the biopic treatment.

Pathway Entertainment has acquired the script "Through the Eyes of a Son," described as an uncensored take on the singer written by his son Lou Rawls Jr., and will develop it as a feature, with Isaiah Washington attached to play the famed crooner.

Born in Chicago in 1933, Rawls sang in a range of styles that included blues, soul, funk and R&B, selling millions of albums and earning legions of fans, as well as the accolades of Frank Sinatra. He also, according to the script, had a traumatic life, enduring a poverty-stricken childhood and, in adulthood, intense marital strife.

"It's the untold side of a glamorous life," said Adel Nur, Washington's manager. "It's like 'Ray'; we knew about the beautiful music, but we didn't know about the turmoil and chaos in (Ray Charles') life."

Pathway's Robert Egan and Dimi Sloane co-wrote the script with Rawls Jr., and Egan and Rawls Jr. will serve as producers. Another writer is expected to come on to do a polish.

Said Egan, "We're showing the real story — what he was doing to his wife before walking out onstage and wooing the audience with a big smile." He added that the film will move around in time to different periods of the singer's life.

Rawls, who died in 2006, also had a side career in Hollywood, lending his voice to such cartoons as "Garfield" and "Hey Arnold!" and making appearances in movies like "Blues Brothers 2000."

The APA-repped Washington, best known for his role on "Grey's Anatomy," next will be seen in "Hurricane Season," the Weinstein Co./Dimension Films story of a New Orleans basketball team after Hurricane Katrina.

Pathway recently completed the drug-dealer tale "King of the Avenue," starring Ving Rhames. (partialdiff)