The Mick Jagger-produced biopic of soul legend James Brown opens this Friday. In production for 12 years, Get On Up traces Brown’s chaotic early life and his transformation into a music legend. Such a film would seem unlikely to draw controversy, but telling the true story of an iconic performer was not always easy for Jagger and his co-producer, Brian Grazer.
The film had the support of Brown’s widow, Tommie Rae Brown, who told Rolling Stone in 2012: “I am deeply honored that Mick Jagger and Brian Grazer, two of my husband James Brown’s favorite people, have entered into a partnership to bring his inspirational story to the big screen.”
Despite this endorsement, Jagger told The Telegraph that it was not smooth sailing to get the movie made. Brown himself, and then his heirs, opted to have their say about the movie and how the story should be told. In an article published today Jagger is quoted as saying:
“It was very difficult when he was alive because he kept changing his mind and he wanted this and he wanted that and didn’t want too much negativity, which I totally understand. And after he died his estate became very difficult to deal with because there were so many of them. I don’t think I’m talking out of turn to say there were disputes.”
Jagger was originally approached to do a documentary about Brown, but suggested a full-length feature. Jagger told The Telegraph of his personal interaction with Brown and his admiration for the music legend:
“I’d met him and hung out with him. He was a full-on, super high energy stage performer and I always admired the way he danced, the way he played an audience, the way he always gave 100 per cent and was always trying to do new things.”
For Get on Up, Jagger remixed original James Brown recordings. Despite not singing, TIME Magazine had very high praise for actor Chadwick Boseman, who plays Brown.
Reviewer Richard Corliss gushed:
“As much as I hate using the O word seven months before the Academy Awards, I’m obliged to predict an aisle seat for Boseman on Oscar night.”
While the movie has its run in theaters, Jagger will be rejoining his Rolling Stone bandmates as they continue their world tour. The tour was briefly on hiatus earlier this year following the unexpected passing of Jagger’s girlfriend, L’Wren Scott. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, it was during a press interview for Get on Up with Boseman and other cast members that Jagger first spoke publicly about Scott’s death.
Get on Up is co-produced by Mick Jagger’s Jagged Films and opens this Friday.
[Left Image: Google; Right Image: UPI/John Angelillo]