“No one else helped me,” says Chadwick Boseman, the actor playing James Brown in the biopic Get on Up, due out in August. The two-and-a-half minute trailer above shows how the soul singer became the legendary performer and bandleader, surviving an impoverished childhood and a stint in juvie where he put together a gospel choir. The clip also features concerts, high-speed police chases and even a touching flashback to his childhood when his aunt tells him, “One day, everybody gonna know your name.” The movie’s tagline is, “What you have heard is only the beginning.”
The movie, picked as one of Rolling Stone’s 61 Reasons to Love 2014, was directed by Tate Taylor, who helmed The Help, and, in addition to Boseman (who starred as Jackie Robinson in 42), stars Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Jill Scott, Walking Dead vet Lennie James and Dan Aykroyd, among many others. It also features actor Nick Eversman (The Runaways, The Depraved) portraying one of the movie’s producers, Mick Jagger.
Rolling Stone caught up with Jagger on the set of the film last month, where the Rolling Stones frontman kvelled about Boseman’s performance. “It’s a really hard role to do,” he said. “It would’ve been safer to take someone from Broadway who had a lot of dancing and singing background. Chad would be the first to tell you, he wasn’t a dancer. But after he’d worked for six weeks on it, he immeasurably had become the character.”
In 2013, Brown’s daughter Deanna Brown-Thomas told Rolling Stone that her father was intrigued but wary of any movie based on his life, especially since it would dramatize his troubled life and drug problems. “Daddy was hardly looking for anybody to do his life story,” she said. “He was flattered, but it wasn’t like he was super-excited about it. He wanted to make sure that these things that came out that weren’t so great wouldn’t look so bad.”
Jagger’s co-producer, Brian Grazer, has been attempting to make a Brown biopic since the late Nineties, with Eddie Murphy and Wesley Snipes once rumored to play the singer with Spike Lee attached to direct.