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Gaye biopic heads to Cannes

Focus Features International has boarded Julien Temple’s Untitled Marvin Gaye project currently shooting in Luxemburg and Belgium. Screendaily first reported on the film in February.

Jesse L Martin will star as the soul singer alongside Brendan Gleeson in the role of promoter Freddy Cousaert, Vicky Krieps as his girlfriend Eugenie and Beasts Of The Southern Wild breakout Dwight Henry as Gaye’s father.

Matthew Broughton wrote the screenplay and Frederick Bestall of Auric Entertainment and Jimmy De Brabant of Delux Productions produce. Grammy Award-winning Vassal Benford will serve as executive producer with Peter Davy and will also compose the score.

“The film will celebrate the light that poured forth from Marvin Gaye and still illuminates our lives but won’t avoid the darkness that haunted him from within,” said Temple, Bestall and De Brabant in a statement.

The film focuses on the latter part of Gaye’s life when he recorded his most successful album Midnight Love in Belgium and was in the thick of a close yet tempestuous friendship with Cousaert. Gaye, who had long struggled with depression and drug abuse, died on Apr 1 1984 aged 44 after he was shot by his father.

“Marvin Gaye is an iconic idol with a bittersweet story spanning success, fame and the torments of addiction,” said Alison Thompson, co-president of Focus Features International. “With his long established track record in making movies about music and the great musicians who touch us all, Julien and his team are the ideal partners to bring the extraordinary life of Marvin Gaye to audiences around the world.”

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