Mick Jagger has opened up for the first time about life after the death of his girlfriend, L’Wren Scott, in a Today interview about Get On Up, the upcoming James Brown biopic that he coproduced. “I’m doing OK,” he said. “It’s difficult. Very hard year. But I got back into it with touring with the Stones in Europe and doing other things, including doing this movie. [I’ve gotten] a lot of support and I really appreciate that.”
Scott was found dead in her apartment on March 17th. The next day, Jagger released a statement to the press saying he “will never forget her,” and his Stones bandmates offered public support of the vocalist in their own statement. Jagger attended a memorial service for Scott in early May, and by the end of the month was back on the road with the group. The Stones recently released a two-minute wrap-up video that they made on that tour.
In late 2012, Jagger announced that he was working on Get On Up, which opens August 1st. In his interview with Today, the Stones frontman explained his perspective on the Godfather of Soul. “James Brown is a guy who comes from absolutely nothing, from nowhere, he has nothing, and he wants to be someone,” he said. “He wants to be a big star, and he’s going to work like crazy to become a big star. And it’s about the effects on his personality. ‘When you achieve that goal, what happens to you?'”
Jagger also told Matt Lauer how Brown had influenced him as a frontman – and revealed that it ran deeper than the music. “It wasn’t an influence like, ‘Oh, I’m going to cop his move or I’m going to cop his songwriting,'” Jagger said. “The main thing I copped from him, which I think is a good thing to learn for any performer, is the way he interacted with the audience. The way he charmed them. The way he told them what to do. The way he gave them his emotions. The way he expected them to give back.”
When Dan Aykroyd – who was at the interview along with actors Chadwick Boseman (James Brown), Octavia Spencer (Aunt Honey) and Nelsan Ellis (Bobby Byrd), producer Brian Grazer and director Tate Taylor – asked Jagger about the importance of his backing band, the vocalist both agreed and disagreed. “You need people backing you up,” he said. “But having said that, your job is not a humility job.” Aykroyd concurred, “You’re the frontman, the showman, the bandleader.”
Earlier this year, Rolling Stone visited the set of Get On Up and spoke to Jagger, whose production company is also working on an HBO series about the Seventies music industry, about deciding that Boseman was the right actor to play Brown. “It’s a really hard role to do,” Jagger 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.”