‘Get On Up’ Trailer Brings Plenty of Funk, Maybe Some Tears to James Brown’s Life Story

By  · Published on March 15th, 2014

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.

While the trailer promises that “what you’ve heard is only the beginning,” most of what’s featured is what’s going to get the audiences in their seats, namely the music and movement that gave the man his success. There’s plenty of famous faces in the mix – Dan Aykroyd, is that you? – who cross his path on his rise to the top, and scenes like an ill-advised trip to Vietnam that make it clear that this will be a fun biopic; we’re not doing anything completely depressing a la Walk the Line.

Boseman is doing his damnedest to emulate Brown’s unique voice and pattern of speech, and he’s doing a pretty good job at it. But have a listen for yourself below, and try not to get excited when you see Boseman as later-in-life Brown in his sparkle-suited, big haired glory show up. Good God.

Get On Up hits theaters August 1st.