‘Get On Up’ Trailer: Does the Funk Quit? No, The Funk Does Not Quit

Get On Up

Universal Pictures

Question! Does the funk stop? Ever? Think on it. Ready? The answer is no, the funk does not stop, as the snappy, jazzy tagline to Tate Taylor‘s James Brown biopic, Get On Up, reminds us. Keep that in mind until, oh, let’s say August, when the film hits screens, and you might be appropriately ready for the kind of moving and grooving that apparently awaits us in Taylor’s next film.

The latest biopic to dance on to the big screen focuses on the Godfather of Soul’s trip to the big time (played here by 42′s Chadwick Boseman), spanning his childhood all way up to the height of his success. Although we can probably expect to see to lots of fun dancing and hot singing and some of the best hairstyles cinema has offered so far this year, the film’s latest trailer focuses on something a bit more dramatic: Brown’s fraught relationship with his mother (played by Viola Davis), who abandoned the Hardest Working Man in Show Business when he was just a kid. Get ready to get a little teary.

You’re teary already, right? Such is the way with biopics, which tend to pile on high highs and low lows in every single way possible. Have professional success? Your personal life will be a mess. Love your wife? Your mother will keep haunting you. Have great hair? It will eventually flatten. For all his success in the musical arena, it sure looks as if Get On Up will place a big emphasis on Brown’s relationship with his mother — and casting someone as awesome as Viola Davis for the role basically guarantees that both she and Boseman will be gifted with some majorly emotional scenes. It’s probably a good thing this one isn’t coming out around Mother’s Day, because that could be awkward.

Otherwise, the film still has plenty of other dramas to depict — from his education advocacy to the Boston riot drama to three different marriages all marked by weird circumstances (there was even a Green Card mess in his final marriage!) to news of a number of extramarital children — but still, it might all come down to this mama drama.

The film also stars Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Craig Robinson, Octavia Spencer, Lennie James, Tika Sumpter and Jill Scott, who will probably all attempt the Mashed Potato at different times and with different results.

Get On Up opens on August 1st. [Yahoo! Movies]

Kate is an entertainment and culture writer and editor living in New York City. She is also a contributing writer for,,, Vulture,,, The Dissolve, Screen Crush, New York Daily News, Mental Floss, and amNY. Her previous work can also be found at MSN Movies, Boxoffice Magazine, and She lives her life like a French movie, Steve.

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