Allen Hughes (The Book of Eli and Menace II Society) has been tapped to direct the biopic “What’s Going On” about Marvin Gaye, written by poet and playwright Marcus Gardley.
Per Deadline, Warner Bros. spent upwards of $80 million to acquire the script for the project.
“This is so personal for me,” Hughes said. “When I made my first film with my brother, we were fortunate to get What’s Going On into the trailer for Menace 2 Society, and it was a game-changer in elevating the marketing of that film. Every film of mine but the period film From Hell had some Marvin Gaye in it, and I’ve just always connected to him.”
“He’s the artist’s artist, with this ethereal voice that just comes out of the heavens,” he continued. “There have been plenty of great artists, and then Marvin, in his own lane.”
Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine will serve as producers on the biopic.
“You’ve heard of all these big name directors that have tried for 35 years to consolidate these rights,” Hughes said. “This started with Dre, saying let’s do this together, and then Jimmy came on, and Andrew Lazar, and we worked with the estate, with Motown and some other things that needed to be tied down, and we got it done.”
According to Deadline, the biopic will be a “musical odyssey and theatrical experience” celebrating the late Motown icon.
Production on “What’s Going On” will start next year with a 2023 release in theaters and on HBO Max, according to the report.
In related news, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine have joined forces to launch a new public high school in South L.A. that will open in Fall 2022.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Dre said he wants to reach “the inner-city kid, the younger me.” He added: “Here’s a place that you can go where there’s something that you can learn that you’re really interested in.”
“This is for kids who want to go out and start their own company or go work at a place… like Marvel, or Apple or companies like that,” Iovine said.
“This is nowhere near a music school,” he said of Regional High School No. 1, as it’s known for now, per the report.
Iovine and Dr. Dre felt compelled to give back the to South L.A. community.
“This is something new and different that might excite the kids and make them want to go to school,” Dr. Dre said. “I had no idea this is where my life and career was gonna go, and everything that I’ve been doing throughout my career … was gonna lead to this, all those things a stepping stone to get here. Is this what it’s supposed to be? The, you know, the Big Bang? Hopefully it is.”
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