Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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…

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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