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Janis Gaye Not Happy About Julien Temple’s Marvin Gaye Film; Wants Denzel Washington For The Role

So… recall that Marvin Gaye project that British director Julien Temple is developing, which will focus on the making of the Midnight Love album, and that had reportedly been given a greenlight, with an $8 Million budget, financed through a Belgian tax shelter and Luxembourg’s CIAV… the project that we thought would be the first Marvin Gaye film to be made, of the 4 we know of that are in the works…?

Well, not-so fast my friends! It’s not as wrapped up as we all thought it was. Per THIS article in the UK’s Independent, Janis Gaye, the late singers second and last wife (he was married twice), apparently knew nothing about this project, stating that she was at her home in Rhode Island last month when she read about plans to make the film (maybe she read it here on Shadow And Act ;)).

The Independent says that Janis Gaye has “generally felt “very skeptical” about attempts to bring Marvin Gaye’s story to screen,” as she has had difficulties trusting other involved parties over the years, since his death. She is also concerned that Temple’s film – which will focus on the latter half of Gaye’s life, his time in Belgium, a drug addict, essentially considered something of a has-been – would “focus on his drug abuse, on other negative aspects of his life.” Well, obviously it will.

The hurdles in front of anyone trying to make a Gaye biopic are manifold. One essential requirement is the rights to the music. Another is an actor capable of playing the singer… Then, there are the interests of his family to consider – those of his first wife, Anna Gordy, elder sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy, and of Janis Gaye and her children,” states the Independent.

The last report on this said that EMI, which holds the rights to Gaye’s music, on behalf of his children, Nona Gaye, Marvin Gaye III, and Frankie Gaye, was understood to be ready to give the greenlight to Julien Temple’s $8 million film. I’m not sure about the role of his 2 wives, or if they have any say in the matter anyway.

But, basically, it looks like it’ll be a challenge for any filmmaker interested in making a Marvin Gaye film to pass all those tests, and make everybody happy! So, I’m not sure what all this means for Temple’s Midnight Love project, if anything at all.

Oh, and as for who should play Marvin Gaye, the Independent article states that Janis has “strong opinions” about who should tackle the role, and it’s not any of the names we’ve already heard mentioned. For Janis Gaye, Denzel Washington is her man!

“I don’t think too many people have seen Denzel dance but from what I hear, he can cut a pretty cool rug. I just feel he would be the ideal Marvin, if there is such a thing,” she said.

Again, does she have any say in whether/how this film is made? It doesn’t look much like it. If rights to his music have already been granted, or are in the process of being granted, then all else is mute, right? Or am I just missing something?

8 comments to Janis Gaye Not Happy About Julien Temple’s Marvin Gaye Film; Wants Denzel Washington For The Role

  • Hats off to the filmmaker who’s finally able to pull this off…. especially if the final product is worthy of Marvin’s name.

    With all due respect to Ms. Gaye, people need to let this “have Denzel play everybody” thing go. He’s pushing 60. Early ’90s Denzel would’ve been interesting, but that was 20 years ago. The funny thing about her comment is that Marvin himself wasn’t a great dancer. The David Ritz bio, Divided Soul, talks about that a lot.

  • Well that’s kinda crazy. I mean, Denzel is older now than Marvin was when he died. I was rooting for Janis until reading that part. Also, as Jason points out above, Marvin was not a good dancer. If you ever saw him live, it was clear that dancing was not his strong suit. Not that it mattered. Smoky can’t dance either :-).

  • I agree with Jason; I LOVE DEnzel to death but this whole “have Denzel play everybody” is getting tired.

    As I stated in another thread on these Marvin Gaye film projects, I’d like to see Jesse L. Martin play Marvin and hopefully, and more importantly, the script is sharp. The story is of paramount importance

    And also as I said before on that previous thread, I have ZERO interest in seeing a Marvin Gaye film about the later part of his life regarding and centering on his downfall and drug addiction. That goes to that demonizing another Black man syndrome for bad choices made; I’m not going to support that film effort if it’s made.

  • “I have ZERO interest”

    “That goes to that demonizing another Black man syndrome for bad choices made; I’m not going to support that film effort if it’s made”

    This is the time I need a ghost writer to express my thought better I. Yes Denzel if too old for the part. Nope, Marvin wasn’t the best dancer and neither is Denzel. That was on display (if you really looked for it) in Malcolm X. And please please please, no movie focusing on the latter half of Gaye’s life, his time in Belgium, a drug addict, essentially considered something of a has-been, focusing on his drug abuse, and other negative aspects of his life, should ever be made. What would be the purpose?

    See, in another tread ( Spike’s 10 worst black female characters) I was in a discussion Brandon Wilson. Personally, I didn’t understand the usefulness and/or purpose of highlighting Spike’s worst characters (and I still don’t). But he hit me with a line that relates to my thoughts on dredging up Marvin’s deepest struggles. Take a look…. Brandon: “this list was compiled in an attempt to seek Truth, capital “T” Truth , and that urge is just as powerful in human beings as the need for food and shelter”

    Okay, this is where I need a skilled writer, or at least a writer that can succinctly and concisely say…. “That’s a bottle of snake juice… capital “T” Truth bullshit-ish purple prose.

    Well, you know, I need a writer to smooth it out. Look, to imply that “Truth” (your truth, my truth, err’ body got truth) is the big trump card, ahead of food, shelter and privacy, tells me something isn’t right with the “write“. And see, this is where my ghost writer/editor is really needed. My wording is not going to cut it. I’d like someone to re-write or edit the following words. Well… take a look and see if you know what I’m trying to say.

    Yo momma got a big funky butt… that’s the truth. Your daddy was a rolling stone and rumor says you’re a trick baby… that’s the truth. Your husband has a dysfunctional pee-pee and you haven’t had an orgasm in 10 years…. that’s the truth, so lets tell the world about it. You know, the challenge will be looking at the totality of Mr. Lee’s, Mr. Gaye’s, your mother and father’s total output to get to the truth. But for this film – today – we’re just going to highlight nothing but the walk on the wild side. Hey, it’s gonna be “T” truthful, and that’s just as powerful as food and shelter and privacy and respect. What’s the problem?

    Truth? Editor needed!

  • JasonJee

    I think Denzel would do a great job what does age have to do with it but I think Jesse L Martin is perfect.

    • ladybug

      Nothing if the person looks the age of the character . . . Denzel is looking every bit his age these days . . . not saying he’s not still handsome. . . it has to make sense.

  • I’m hate the singers cast as actors thing….but Maxwell looks a lot like Marvin

  • Sandy

    janis gaye: this isn’t about “you,” this is about Marvin! Nuff said.