Lenny Kravitz honed his musical chops during the 1990s by combining rock, soul, R&B and funk on songs like “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” “Fly Away,” “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over” and “Believe.” More recently, he earned his acting stripes with roles in diverse films including the Oscar-nominated Precious and the adaptation of The Hunger Games. Now, he’s combining both sides of his skill sets to play the role of Marvin Gaye in Julien Temple’s biopic on the iconic soul singer.

The documentary will focus on the “Sexual Healing” era; when he fought his various addictions, while resurrecting his career with the aid of British music promoter Freddy Cousaert in the 1980s before being shot and killed by his father in Los Angeles on April 1, 1984.

Other directors have tried to launch a Marvin Gaye film, including Cameron Crowe (the role of Gaye in that project was turned down by Will Smith) and F. Gary Gray, but attaining publishing rights to use Gaye’s music has always been an issue. However, Deadline.com has confirmed that Temple has acquired the rights to Gaye’s music for use in the film.

Julien Temple has plenty of experience documenting and filming music; from his time in the ’70s recording early Sex Pistols shows to making music videos for The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, The Kinks and Paul McCartney to directing Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten, a 2007 documentary on the life of the former Clash frontman.

The Gaye biopic is scheduled to begin filming next year.

— E.J. Judge, WCBS-FM New York 


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