I have to say, when I first saw the trailer for GET ON UP, the new biopic on late singer James Brown, I was unimpressed. It just seemed...predictable, and strikingly similar to a certain other movie about another icon, Ray. But, man, the cast is excellent. Of course director Tate Taylor, who I still have on probation for the abominable The Help, has always had a knack for securing some of the best talent in the industry (go figure). However, I am still concerned about the story Taylor, with screenwriters Jez and John-Henry Butterworth (recently praised for their Edge of Tomorrow screenplay), has chosen to tell.
While according to the production notes, the film isn't your typical Wikipedia-like format as it "unfolds in a nonlinear style that allows James Brown to speak directly to us," I wonder why they chose to go with a title for the film that refers to one of Brown's popular songs in which he proclaims "I feel like being a sex machine." Doing this suggests that the story could end up focusing more on the music and less on the man (I mean, even something as simple as The Godfather of Soul would have made it seem more personal). The trailer, which you can watch here, doesn't do much else for it either--it just looks like a 2-minute music video fan montage sprinkled with obligatory James Brown affectations that give us a little detail about his background. But, hey, that's just a trailer, maybe the movie is much more.
The cast, which I mentioned above, is pretty spectacular--Chadwick Boseman, most known for playing another legend in 42, plays Brown, Viola Davis (Doubt, The Help) portrays Susie, Brown's mother, Nelsan Ellis (True Blood) is Bobby Byrd, then there's Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station, The Help), Dan Akroyd, Jill Scott (Baggage Claim, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency), Tika Sumpter (Sparkle) and Craig Robinson (The Office, This Is The End). That's a mouthful.
GET ON UP will hit theaters August 1st. Check out a few more images from the film: