Law and Order star Jesse L. Martin is set to star in a biopic about singer Marvin Gaye.
Shooting starts in May in Hungary and Germany on Sexual Healing, an independent drama to be written and directed by Lauren Goodman.
With biopics such as Ray and Walk the Line a hit with audiences, the time seems right for a biopic about one of Motown’s most enduring talents.
Producers have been trying to launch a Gaye film biography for years, but have been stymied by his Motown producers, who won’t license the rights to his music from the period when he recorded What’s Going On and Let’s Get It On.
Instead, this film is set to focus on the final years of his life, when he exiled himself to Europe after a battle with drugs. There he met promoter Freddy Cousaert, who helped Gaye record Midnight Love, his biggest-selling album which includes the track Sexual Healing.
Renewed success led to a renewed battle with drugs for Gaye. His life ended tragically in 1984 the day before his 45th birthday, when he was shot to death during an argument with his father.
"More than just being the voice of a generation, Marvin Gaye proved to be its very heartbeat," Goodman said, quoted in Billboard. "As a filmmaker, I was drawn to tell the story of a human being who was never fully realized, one with faults and foibles and an uncommon grace expressed every time he picked up the microphone."
Martin also had a role in the recent film production of Rent and appeared on Ally McBeal and The X-Files.