If there’s one thing we learn from our music biopics, it’s that legendary success doesn’t come without struggle; and that struggle usually entails intense poverty, violently turbulent relationships and brutal fights against the odds. See: What’s Love Got to Do With It, Ray, Walk the Line, etc.
James Brown’s rocky relationship with his mother takes center stage in the new trailer for Get On Up (exclusive here on Yahoo Movies). A preteen JB is abandoned by his mom, only to see her reappear once he’s claimed worldwide fame and “Hardest Working Man in Show Business” status. The drama should hit harder than the funkster’s breakbeats (also on full display) given the cast director Tate Taylor (The Help) has assembled. Chadwick Boseman drew accolades for his understated performance as Jackie Robinson in last year’s 42, and while some questioned whether he could pull off this flashier persona, the actor looks more suited for the part with new each new peek; mother Susie Brown is played by Viola Davis, two-time Oscar nominee for previous turns as matriarchs, both desperate (Doubt) and grieving (The Help).
Similarities to Ray shouldn’t irk Universal. The film’s distributor likely wouldn’t mind if its late-summer counter-programming release followed in the footsteps of that biopic, which earned a solid $75 million before winning Jamie Foxx an Oscar.
Get On Up opens Aug. 1.