B12 Solipsism

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James Brown and the Making of ‘Get On Up’

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I hope this is a good film, because James Brown was an amazing performer, and a complicated cat…

“I was sitting right there,” says Mick Jagger, pointing at a row of seats in the famous first balcony at New York’s Apollo Theater. He is remembering how, as a young fan back in England, he had worn out the grooves on his copy of James Brown’s 1963 album, “Live at the Apollo.” Then, he says, he watched from the balcony in 1964 as the Hardest-Working Man in Show Business performed his splits and spins and dropped to his knees begging and screaming “Please Please Please.”

Fifty years later, Mr. Jagger is back at the Apollo, speaking in the historic space where “Get On Up: The James Brown Story”, which he co-produced with Brian Grazer, would have its premiere in a couple of days. It hits theaters Aug. 1.

“It was daunting, of course,” Mr. Jagger says of having to follow the future Godfather of Soul in one of his most amazing performances. Keith Richards has said it was a big mistake to even try. Mr. Jagger’s perspective: “At that age you don’t care. You don’t think. You just do it.”

Mr. Boseman worked with choreographer Aakomon Jones to learn Brown’s signature moves, including the one-legged sideways slide step that “we called the good foot,” the actor says.

It also didn’t hurt that one of the film’s producers happened to be among a handful of people on earth who has had as long and storied a performing career as James Brown.

“I would say that Mick Jagger sort of produced the philosophy behind how to approach the performances,” says Mr. Boseman. “He was adamant about the amount of intensity that James Brown brought to a performance and [Mr. Jagger] always tried to match himself. He drove that point home.”

The two also discussed what Mr. Boseman calls Brown’s “good face,” which his audience saw, and the “bad face” that the famously strict to the point of abusive band leader turned on his backing musicians.

Mr. Jagger says “We talked about how there are two people you’re playing really—James Brown the person and there is James Brown the performer. They’re not the same James Brown.”

(click here to continue reading James Brown and the Making of ‘Get On Up’ – WSJ.)

and I happened to run across these James Brown Youtuberies yesterday, so I’m sharing them for your edification. The man could dance…

 The film took a while to make…

But a primary reason the project “was pushed off year after year,” Mr. Grazer says, was pinpointed by James Brown himself. Though Brown had given his blessings to Mr. Grazer’s film he remained skeptical, telling the producer: “You’ll never find somebody to play me.”

He was right. And though Wesley Snipes and Eddie Murphy reportedly were considered for the role, the part had not been cast by 2006 when, following Brown’s death that year, rights to his story were returned to the Brown family estate.

For Mr. Grazer, the film was a labor of love. A self-described James Brown fanatic, he grew up in the San Fernando Valley listening to his music. “When I was in high school, I was in a car club and I just played James Brown over and over and over again on my 8-track,” he says.

“`You wanna know how hardworking I am?”” Mr. Grazer remembers Brown saying. “Then he told me a story about how once he was dancing and he stepped on a nail on stage. The nail went right through his foot, bled through his shoe and he kept on going.”

That fired Mr. Grazer’s determination to make his film.

(click here to continue reading James Brown and the Making of ‘Get On Up’ – WSJ.)

but they want the young’uns to go see it too:

With the film ready to open in theaters, the filmmakers are hoping to repeat the success of Mr. Taylor’s, “The Help,” which grossed close to $170 million domestically on a reported budget of $25 million, slightly less than “Get On Up.”

While test screenings have shown that “Get On Up” currently appeals to “a 40-plus audience,” Mr. Grazer says, “I want kids to see it.” To get them into theaters he has tapped into friends in the hip-hop community whom he met during the production of his 2002 film “8 Mile.”

“Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, ODB from the Wu-Tang Clan, Kanye, those guys worship James Brown, who really is the progenitor of hip-hop. They were all influenced by him and they all feel that some of their funk has come from James Brown. I want kids to see where the music comes from.”

To help get the word out, Mr. Grazer says he hopes to enlist his friends Jay Z and Justin Timberlake to help promote the movie.

“A lot of my friends, and Brian’s friends as well, said it was impossible to make a film about James Brown,” says Mr. Jagger.

(click here to continue reading James Brown and the Making of ‘Get On Up’ – WSJ.)

Like I said, I hope this turns out to be the biopic that The Hardest Working Man In Showbiz deserves.

Written by Seth Anderson

July 25th, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Posted in Film,Music

Tagged with ,

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