Chadwick Boseman

Get On Up

Tate Taylor’s Get on Up starts off with a literal bang. We first meet James Brown (as portrayed by Chadwick Boseman) while he is wielding a shotgun and preaching about the best practices for using someone else’s bathroom. An idiosyncratic start to a film about the Godfather of Soul, sure, but it works to show how the mighty may have (temporarily) fallen. Brown is clearly a charming and charismatic man (two traits that are played to the hilt by Boseman), but after a rough childhood in the rural outskirts of Georgia and a meteoric rise to fame, it is clear Mr. Brown is struggling with some very real demons. Get on Up aims to show us why, but falters along the way. Growing up in a broken home where love and violence were often one and the same, Brown’s father (Lennie James) runs off his mother (Viola Davis) and then gives Brown to the town’s madam Aunt Honey (Octavia Spencer). Brown learns crowd-pleasing showmanship bringing in business to Aunt Honey’s, but thanks to an eye for the finer things (and no way to afford them), Brown eventually finds himself locked up in jail with no hope for parole. Brown may get frustrated when things do not go his way, but he never gets down on himself, and even in jail finds himself drawn to what makes him feel good: music.

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Get On Up

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.

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Get On Up Trailer

Awwww yeah, things are about to get a little more funky up in here, everybody. The trailer for the long-gestating James Brown biopic, Get On Up (Can we be honest with each other, here? Maybe there could have been a better title besides reaching for a familiar song title), has landed and it’s exceedingly catchy. The story of the Godfather of Soul is apparently a comprehensive look at the legendary singer’s formative years up until the height of his success, and it’s not skimping out on any of the music that made the man so famous. The film, directed by The Help‘s Tate Taylor, stars Chadwick Boseman (42) as the titular soul man as he maneuvers through a rough childhood, time spent in jail and through all that fame business. Being a superstar is kind of a big part of this story, if you didn’t gather that on your own. The trailer touches on a part of the singer’s life that you might not have heard about: his volatile relationship with his mother (Viola Davis), who abandoned him at age six to leave him to be raised in a brothel with his aunt, played by Octavia Spencer.

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James Brown

Just like the man himself, Tate Taylor‘s James Brown film is quickly becoming the hardest-working biopic in show business. Early this week the film got a star and a green light. Then came the rumors that Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, and Nelsan Ellis would all be joining the supporting cast (although as of now, those three roles are still unconfirmed). And today marks the announcement of a title and release date. The title? Get On Up. The release date? October 17, 2014. Things are chugging along nicely for Get On Up, although we’ve still got no word about how Chadwick Boseman will be taking on the hefty singing and dancing duties of his starring role. There’s also been no mention of any prosthetics or makeup – if Boseman is going to be grafting anything onto his face to look more like the Godfather of Soul, or if he’ll just be Chadwick Boseman in a wig and the rest will be left to our imaginations. The fall release date does hint the powers that be at Universal (the studio releasing Get On Up) might be angling for the film to pull in a few statuettes come awards season. It’s not an insane idea. Tate’s last feature, The Help, won approximately a billion awards – the majority of them going to the film’s cast (which, not coincidentally, also featured Spencer and Davis). So long as Boseman gets the singing and dancing down pat, he might just have a shot.

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Chadwick Boseman

There have been rumblings of a James Brown biopic for more than a decade, but last night all those rumblings finally came together in a blast of furious funky fervor. Director Tate Taylor (of The Help) first joined the project almost two years ago, and now Variety is reporting that Chadwick Boseman, who recently played Jackie Robinson in 42, has been cast as the Godfather of Soul. Immediately afterwards, the film was greenlit. Immediately after that, Tate announced that the film would be shot in Mississippi (although Brown was born in South Carolina and raised in Georgia). The film will, like Ray and Walk the Line and so many other musician biopics before it, follow Brown’s impoverished childhood and rise to the top of the charts. So the James Brown movie is finally getting made. But, as with any on-screen portrayal of a musician, the question must be asked: will Boseman be singing, or will Brown’s vocals be piped in after the fact? There’s no answer yet, but I’d put my money on lip-synch. Brown’s infectious energy will be difficult enough to capture, and unlike Jamie Foxx or Joaquin Phoenix, Boseman will have to spend hours upon hours (upon weeks, upon months) mastering Brown’s fanciful footwork. That alone might get him some serious recognition. God forbid he uses any kind of foot double.

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42

Baseball hall-of-famer, social activist, and boundary-breaker Jackie Robinson has long been due a full-scale feature film to chronicle his many achievements, and while Brian Helgeland’s 42 wisely sticks to telling the remarkable story of Robinson’s burgeoning Major League career as anchored by uniformly great performances, it’s an otherwise stale portrayal of one of America’s greatest heroes. 42 will likely be hailed as some manner of crowd-pleaser, but the film’s frequent lack of emotional punch and linear sense of history leave it far more suited for sharing within a classroom setting. Helgeland’s film feels safe and stagey, a bizarre take on Robinson’s bold and brash life story, and it only occasionally allows moments of true emotional impact to fly out of the park, seemingly beyond Helgeland’s control. 42 picks up with Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) in his post-collegiate and -military life, as a star player on the Kansas City Monarchs, part of baseball’s Negro leagues of the 1940’s. Unbeknownst to Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ club president and general manager, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), had his eye on then-shortstop, as he was cooking up a plan to drive revenues (and, apparently, his own good sense) by bringing on the first African-American baseball player in the major leagues. He wanted that player to be Robinson, and 42 centers on Robinson and Rickey’s dual struggle to overcome all manner of prejudice, hate, and stupidity to give Robinson his quite well-deserved place on the Dodgers and in the majors.

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42 Trailer

The historical drama, the meditation on race relations, and the inspirational sports story: separately they’re all crowd-pleasing film genres that tend to do well at the box office and earn plenty of recognition during awards season. But put them all together and you get some kind of unstoppable super movie. Or, at least, that’s probably what writer/director Brian Helgeland was hoping when he made 42, a biopic of baseball player Jackie Robinson. For anyone out there whose nerdom doesn’t travel over into the sports world, Robinson was the first black player to cross the color line and play in Major League Baseball during the modern era. Which, you might imagine, was something that a number of tobacco-spitting ballplayers and drunken fans in the stands didn’t take kindly to back in the late 1940s. 42 seems to focus on the struggle of going somewhere you’re not wanted, so that you might pave the way toward opportunity for those who come after you; a noble goal that’s ripe with dramatic potential.

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42 Movie

A young boy stands between two sets of train tracks, bat in one hand, the other pointed out toward the Heavens. It’s a simple twist on a classic image and just one of many found in the first trailer for Brian Helgeland’s 42. The film tells the story of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball, and with carefully crafted shots and a booming reminder from Jay-Z that Brooklyn goes hard, it’s a hell of a way to introduce a movie. Although, you might be thinking, “A Helgeland period piece with modern music? Is this A Knight’s Tale with an infield fly rule?” If you are, that’s an oddly specific reference to go to, nerd, and the movie itself probably won’t feature anything but mid-1900 jams. So keep heart. Without a doubt, this will be a break out chance for Chadwick Boseman, who plays Robinson, but it’s Harrison Ford who’s nearly unrecognizable here as Branch Rickey, the man who signed Robinson to the Dodgers. Check out this exciting trailer for yourself:

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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