Lionel Richie to Produce Curtis Mayfield Biopic

"It's an honor for me to bring the life of one of my idols and friend to the screen," singer says after acquiring 'Superfly' legend's rights

Lionel Richie is set to produce a biopic about a fellow music legend after the singer secured the rights to Curtis Mayfield's life story. Credit: David Reed Redferns

Lionel Richie is set to produce a biopic about a fellow music legend after the singer secured the rights to Curtis Mayfield's life story.

The former Commodores singer's RichLion Productions acquired the rights from the Curtis Mayfield Estate, Deadline reports. Soul legend Mayfield, a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is responsible for penning songs like the Impressions' "People Get Ready," Number 24 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, as well as the legendary Superfly soundtrack.

"It's an honor for me to bring the life of one of my idols and friend to the screen," Richie said in a statement. "I'm so grateful to be working closely with [Mayfield's widow] Altheida Mayfield, [son] Cheaa Mayfield and the Curtis Mayfield Estate and couldn't be happier to be moving forward on this amazing project about a one-of-a-kind music genius."

Altheida Mayfield added, "It's time to celebrate and re-evaluate Curtis' legacy. For years, too many others have tried to claim what he alone did. He was a genius, always stood on his own."

A music prodigy who joined the Impressions at 14, Mayfield was also active in the Civil Rights Movement, which he captured in mid-Sixties songs like "Keep On Pushing" and the oft-covered anthem "People Get Ready." In the Seventies, Mayfield embarked on a solo career that included his classic SuperflyNumber 72 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time – as well as writing and producing Aretha Franklin's 1976 Sparkle soundtrack.

In 1990, Mayfield was paralyzed from the neck down after stage lighting fell on him during a concert in Brooklyn, New York. Although unable to play instruments, Mayfield continued to compose and sing music until his type 2 diabetes-related death in 1999 at the age of 57.

No specifics about the Mayfield biopic, including screenwriter, director, cast or release date, were announced.