Mick Jagger and the cast of the new biographical film “Get On Up” talked about the upcoming movie on Friday's "Today" show. Director Tate Taylor explained how he came to direct the film while others shared how they came to be part of the movie. Taylor says the movie, due out on Aug. 1, shows the key moments in Brown's life but it is not a linear, cradle-to-grave biopic. Taylor says, "It's all who he is, but we're going to put it on shuffle instead of play."
"Get On Up" is an upcoming American biographical drama film about the life of singer James Brown written by Jez and John-Henry Butterworth. The film stars Chadwick Boseman as Brown, Nelsan Ellis, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Tika Sumpter.
People have been trying to make a movie about James Brown for 17 years. Taylor, who directed 2011's "The Help," read the script the day it landed at Imagine Entertainment, and with producers Mick Jagger and Brian Grazer, he took it to Mississippi, his home state, for filming.
Taylor and Boseman, who like Brown, was born in South Carolina, met with Brown's family. This is not the first biographical film Boseman has done. He had the leading role as baseball icon Jackie Robinson in "42." To get into character, Boseman watched concert footage and rehearsed five hours a day for about eight weeks. Boseman had to live up to Brown's titles as "One of the Famous Flames," "The Godfather of Soul," "The Minister of the New New Super Heavy Funk," and "The Hardest Man in Show Business." The movie the shows the key moments in Brown's life behind each of those titles, and Boseman portrays the singing and dancing of the legendary singer.
The story starts when Brown is six years old, abandoned by his mother and left to live with his Aunt Honey, who runs a brothel. It ends in 1993, with a comeback concert after Brown served prison time for aggravated assault and eluding the police in a wild car chase. As Brown, Boseman frequently speaks directly to the camera, offering the audience insight into his choices.
Taylor admits, "There is a lot of pain in this movie, but as James says, take what's bad and flip it on its head and make it work for you. That's what he did, and that's what we can all learn from complicated geniuses."
Brown's epic impact on music is indisputable. From the mid-1950s to the end of the century, he scored many classic hits which Boseman will sing in the movie. His dynamic dancing on stage was electrifying, and he performed hundreds of dates each year, earning him the title, "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business." Brown died in 2006 at age 73.
Many young adults will get to know Brown through this upcoming movie, while older adults will remember the singing and dancing they came to know through the singer and dancer himself. Watch Mick Jagger's interview with Matt Lauer on "Today" show.