HBO has acquired the U.S. and Canadian TV rights to the two-hour documentary "Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown," which premieres on HBO on Oct. 27, 2014, at 9 p.m. EDT/PDT. Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger is one of the producers of the movie, which was directed by Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney.
"Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown" is the second Jagger-produced movie about Brown. The James Brown biopic "Get on Up" (starring Chadwick Boseman as Brown) was released in cinemas in August 2014. In the U.S. and Canada, "Get on Up" has been a box-office disappointment. One month after its release, "Get on Up" has had only $29.9 million in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada. However, "Get on Up" has gotten mostly positive reviews from critics, according to the review site Rotten Tomatoes.
Jagger and the Rolling Stones have had a long relationship with HBO, which has televised multiple Rolling Stones concerts and specials. HBO also had the U.S. TV premiere of the 2012 Rolling Stones documentary "Crossfire Hurricane." In addition, Jagger (along with Martin Scorsese) is executive producing a TV drama series for HBO that is reportedly about a fictional executive in the music business. Emmy-winning actor Bobby Cannavale ("Boardwalk Empire") has been attached to star in the still-untitled TV series.
A press release about HBO acquiring "Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown" stated:
James Brown changed the face of American music forever. Charting his journey from rhythm and blues to funk, "Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown" was made with the unique cooperation of the Brown Estate, which opened its archives for the first time. The documentary features rare and never-before-seen footage, interviews and photographs, chronicling the musical ascension of the “hardest working man in show business,” from his first hit, “Please, Please, Please,” in 1956, to his iconic performances at the Apollo Theater, the T.A.M.I. Show, the Paris Olympia and more.
“Alex Gibney has brought his prodigious filmmaking talents to this portrait of the phenomenon known as James Brown,” says Michael Lombardo, president, HBO programming. “Together with Mick Jagger and his incredible producing team, they have created a captivating portrait of an artist – both the musician and the man.”
Jagger states, “We had full access to amazing never-before-seen photos and video from James Brown's estate, which Alex Gibney used brilliantly to tell the story of James' career from its inception through its pinnacle. We spoke with the extraordinary people who knew James well and worked alongside him throughout his career. By hearing their fascinating stories and memories, we were able to paint the full picture of James as both a musical artist and social activist, whose legacy and impact on the music industry is ever-present.”
“When Mick Jagger reached out to me to direct the documentary, we had a common goal in mind, to take the music of James Brown and put it into a larger historical context,” comments Gibney. “As a musician, ‘Mr. Dynamite’ was the essential funk pioneer, a hugely influential figure and one of the greatest live performers – ever. Beyond his music, Brown’s cultural impact extends to the present day. Mick and his producing partner, Victoria Pearman, along with Peter Afterman from Inaudible and Blair Foster from Jigsaw, were wonderfully supportive and creative producers. We couldn’t be in better hands than with our friends at HBO.”
Abandoned by his parents at an early age, James Brown was a self-made man who became one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, not just through his music, but also as a social activist. In addition to extensive historical footage, including archival interviews with Brown himself, the film includes modern-day interviews with Mick Jagger, Rev. Al Sharpton, Maceo Parker, Clyde Stubblefield, Questlove, Melvin Parker, Chuck D, Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis, Martha High, Bootsy Collins and Fred Wesley, among others.
"Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown" was directed by Alex Gibney of Jigsaw Productions and produced by Mick Jagger and Victoria Pearman of Jagged Films, Peter Afterman of Inaudible Films and Blair Foster of Jigsaw Productions. Alex Gibney served as executive producer. Cinematographers, Maryse Alberti and Antonio Rossi; editor, Maya Mumma; associate editor, Alex Keipper; supervising editor, Geeta Gandbhir.