From The Hunger Games to “Heard It Through The Grapevine” — Lenny Kravitz is set to play Marvin Gaye, Deadline has confirmed. The part of the Motown legend in the Julien Temple-helmed film will be the first lead role for the Grammy-winning Kravitz as an actor, after he has appeared in supporting roles in Lee Daniels’ Precious as well as The Hunger Games. (He also will be seen in Daniels’ White House drama The Butler and in the upcoming sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.) The Gaye project is scheduled to start filming next year and will focus on the time Gaye spent in Europe in the early 1980s, when the soul singer attempted to get his addictions under control and career back on track with the help of British music promoter Freddy Cousaert. Gaye was shot by his father and died in Los Angeles on April 1, 1984. Temple, a video and documentary director, helmed Absolute Beginners and, more recently, the 2012 Summer Olympics docu London: Modern Babylon.
Unlike past Gaye projects, music rights issues have been sorted out on this one, an insider tells Deadline. Back in 2008, The Italian Job’s F. Gary Gray was set to direct the biopic Marvin. That film hasn’t been forthcoming, and Grey’s now working on the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton. Additionally, former Law & Order star Jesse L. Martin was going to star in the James Gandolfini-produced Sexual Healing, but their version of that project hasn’t happened either. Kravitz is repped by CAA and Craig Fruin of HK Management.