Reps for Dre and Sony/ATV confirmed the deal to Rolling Stone, though the film remains in the very early stages of development. Sources tell Rolling Stone that, among other conditions, the project would need the approval of Motown founder Berry Gordy to move forward. A representative for Gordy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As Variety reports, Dr. Dre is the latest in a long line of producers, musicians, actors and filmmakers who have tried to turn Gaye’s life into a movie. Cameron Crowe, James Gandolfini, F. Gary Gray and Scott Rudin have all attempted to make such a film. One particularly tumultuous project, Sexual Healing, directed by Julien Temple, was first set to star Jesse L. Martin (Rent, Law & Order), then Lenny Kravitz. When Kravitz dropped out of the film in 2013, Martin was tapped again for the starring role.
In 2016, Gaye’s family granted Jamie Foxx the rights to develop a limited series about the singer, but the project has not yet moved forward.
For Dre, the Marvin Gaye biopic marks the rapper-mogul’s first major film project since Straight Outta Compton, the N.W.A. biopic he inspired and produced. The film was a commercial and critical success, notching an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Prior to Straight Outta Compton, Dr. Dre dabbled in acting and producing, notably making appearances in Training Day and The Wash.