*After earning an Academy Award for his portrayal of Ray Charles, Jamie Foxx is setting his sights on bringing the life story of another music legend to the screen.
The “Ray” star will executive produce a limited series about Marvin Gaye alongside de Passe Jones Entertainment’s Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones, who will shop it to linear and digital outlets, according to Billboard.com.
“This project will be a powerful and definitive telling of Marvin Gaye’s life story,” says the singer’s son Marvin Gaye III, an executive producer on the new project, which is the first to be blessed by the late singer’s family.
It also has the blessing of Motown founder Berry Gordy, who has served as a mentor to de Passe ever since he hired her as a creative assistant to his legendary label decades ago.
“Marvin was the truest artist I have ever known,” Gordy tells Billboard. “I am confident that this is the right team to bring his story to the audience in an authentic and compelling way.”
There have been numerous attempts to mount a Gaye biopic. Directors F. Gary Gray, Cameron Crowe, James Gandolfini, Scott Rudin and actors including Jesse L. Martin and Lenny Kravitz have all been attached to projects, but none had been authorized by Gaye’s family.
“We’ve been involved in a number of attempts to get this done, and now that we’ve been able to marshal all the forces, and Jamie’s come on board as a partner, we’re excited to get going,” says de Passe, who has executive produced multiple Motown television specials. She and Jones are in talks with Sony/ATV, which controls Gaye’s music rights, to determine which specific songs will be used.
“This has been a labor of love for three decades,” says Jones. “It’s been brewing for a while.”
Foxx adds: “I’ve been a huge fan my whole life. His brilliance in music unparalleled. Marvin Gaye’s story has always fascinated me.”