In 2008 it was announced that F. Gary Gray would direct Marvin, a biopic based on the life of the late legendary soul singer Marvin Gaye. “This is my passion project, the one that I wake up every day thinking about,” Gray said at the time. The movie never materialized, but nearly a decade later telling the story of the artist behind such classic tracks as “What’s Going On,” “Let’s Get It On,” and “Sexual Healing” is still very much a goal for the filmmaker.
“I always say Marvin Gaye, just because I love his music,” Gray (Friday, Straight Outta Compton) told Yahoo Movies when we asked about his dream project during a Facebook Live promoting his latest film, The Fate of the Furious. “His music is so timeless. If you listen to What’s Going On, that album, all of the lyrics apply to what’s happening at this very moment.
“I’d like to think that the core of what drives me creatively is music. He’s one of my favorite artists. He was phenomenal, profound, in a lot of pain as well. So he represents a lot of things. He represents things in my childhood, he represents [the artistic struggle]. So if at some point I get the opportunity to do it, I’d love to do that.”
After rising to fame as one of Motown’s biggest breakouts of the ’60s, Gaye released a string of seminal funk and soul records in the ’70s, including What’s Going On, the Trouble Man soundtrack, Diana & Marvin (a duets LP with Diana Ross), and I Want You. He was shot dead by his father, Marvin Gay Sr., in 1984 at the age of 44.
“It’s Shakespearian, what happened,” Gray said.
As far casting the central role, Gray said he’d likely go the same route he took with the hit 2015 N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton and look for someone relatively unknown. “It’s like Compton, to a certain extent,” Gray said. “When I sat down with Universal, I said in order for this movie to work, we have to use new faces. We can’t cast rappers playing rappers, or people we already know, because it would take you out of the movie.
“You have to look around the world to make sure you find the best person… You have to get it right.”
The Fate of the Furious opens April 14.
Watch our full Facebook Live interview with F. Gary Gray:
Read more on Yahoo Movies:
- F. Gary Gray Takes on ‘Huge Challenge’ of Directing ‘Fast 8’ in New Clip
- ‘Fate of the Furious’ Screens in Full at CinemaCon
- ‘Fast & Furious 6’ Costar Luke Evans on the Fate of Owen Shaw