Dr. Dre, best known for his illustrious career as a hip-hop producer and CEO of Beats Electronics, is working on a new biopic about the late singer Marvin Gaye. As reported by Variety, the film is in its early stages of development, though the rights to use Gaye’s expansive catalog of music has been secured.
While Dre himself is no stranger to Hollywood, having served as a producer and inspiration for 2015’s Straight Outta Compton, his work on the Gaye biopic is noteworthy, particularly for his success in securing the rights and permissions from Gaye’s family. In the past, many have tried to get a similar project off the ground, but none were successful in gaining permission from Gaye’s estate, including F. Gary Gray, Cameron Crowe, Scott Rudin, James Gandolfini, and Lenny Kravitz. Back in 2016, Jamie Foxx was able to secure the necessary rights for a limited series, but no news regarding said project has emerged since. Similarly, a documentary based on Gaye’s life using never-before-seen footage, aptly titled What’s Going On, was set to release last year, but at the time of writing, still remains in development.
Not much else is known about this project at this point, other than the fact that it will focus on Gaye’s life as a musician. Born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. on April 2, 1939, his music career took off during the 1960s, where he worked for Motown as an in-house session player. Before long, he broke out as a solo artist, recording a string of R&B and soul hits such as “Ain’t That Peculiar,” “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” and “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” earning the monikers “Prince of Motown” and “Prince of Soul.”
In the 70s, he released the albums What’s Going On and Let’s Get It On, the latter of which received critical acclaim for its sexually charged lyrics and funk and soul inspired production. A year after winning a pair of Grammy Awards for his hit song “Sexual Healing,” Marvin Gaye was fatally shot by his father, Marvin Gay Sr., and passed away on April 1, 1984. Since his death, Gaye has received a number of posthumous awards, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as being inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.