Home Celebrity Marvin Gaye Non-Motown Movie Picked up by Focus Features

The Marvin Gaye movie without any Motown songs now has a home. Focus Features has bought the rights to “Sexual Healing,” starring Jesse L. Martin as the late great singer. Here’s the deal: this is a movie that will have zero, zilch, none– no Motown songs. There won’t be any Tammi Terrell duets or “What’s Going On” or “Stubborn Kind of Fellow.” No “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You).”

This movie will have Gaye’s 1982 hit, “Sexual Healing” and could include several unremembered songs from that album and the one that followed on Columbia Records. The filmmakers have no rights to Gaye’s huge Motown catalog. The could show Gaye as a young man singing standards. But really what they’re interested in his drug addiction in the early 80s and his death at his father’s hand on April 1, 1984.

Gaye’s family and Motown object to the film. I’m not sure what audience there is for it anyway. My guess this will end much like “Soul Men” did for Malcolm Lee–badly.  Focus is bringing “Sexual Healing” to the market in Cannes for foreign sales. But I wonder how popular it will be when the buyers realize that the film has none of those magical Motown hits…

6 replies to this post
  1. the film has nothing to do with Marvin’s career when he started out. It’s simply focusing on the his final 3 years and on the making of his biggest album Sexual Healing. I’m sure that Jesse, who has almost the same voice as Marvin will do an amazing job! I can’t wait to see this movie!:-)

  2. It’s not a matter of greed….it’s legacy. The family is getting fed up with films/plays/etc that focus solely on his death and not on the contribution he made to music history. Also, NONE of the people directly involved in the making of Sexual Healing, the Midnight Love album of the one after that (musicians or family members) were even consulted about true events. The film is largely based on rumor and supposition. True Marvin Gaye fans should be disappointed.

  3. This can be an epic movie directed by Julien Temple !! and focusses on the period in the early eighties, but without depicting Marvin as a looser, well on the contrary: he is portretted as a strong man writing and recording this marvellous album from where Sexual Healing will be an all time standard song for over decades and centuries !

  4. personally i could care less if people only looking for his motown hits dont watch, the real fans will be there opening day regardless.

  5. No music, no watch. They have the perfect choice in Jessie. Imagine what Rent would be without the singing, only dialogue. If you want to honor his life, honor his talent “and” the angst from his life that created that talent. You can not properly reflect the man without showing what the man loved, and that was his music.

  6. How greedy are his family and Motown to not be a part of this? I can’t wait to see the film because it’s the truth about his life which was about more than music. Jesse Martin was born to do this role.

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