Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Jesse L. Martin To Play Marvin Gaye

"Law & Order" star tunes in to Marvin Gaye movie


Hot on the heels of hit films about Ray Charles and Johnny Cash, a project about the final years of Marvin Gaye is set to begin production in May.

"Sexual Healing," an independently financed drama starring "Law & Order" cop Jesse L. Martin as the late Motown icon, will shoot in Hungary and Germany. Lauren Goodman will direct from her own script.

The movie chronicles Gaye's self-imposed exile in Europe after years of battling drugs, domestic issues and label headaches. There, he was rescued by a promoter who helped Gaye record his biggest-selling album, "Midnight Love," which yielded the monster comeback hit, "Sexual Healing".

Gaye's life was cut short the day before his 45th birthday in 1984, when his father killed him.

"More than just being the voice of a generation, Marvin Gaye proved to be its very heartbeat," Goodman said. "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."

Various producers have spent years trying to make a movie about Gaye. Originally, the project was intended to cover a larger portion of his life but was refocused on his final years because of rights issues with his Motown-produced records.

Music biopics are a hot genre these days with the success of 2004's Oscar-winning "Ray" and 2005's Oscar-nominated Cash movie "Walk the Line."

Martin most recently starred in the feature adaptation of the hit musical "Rent."


Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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