Dr. Dre is working on a movie about the late singer Marvin Gaye, Variety has learned. The rapper, whose film credits include 2015’s “Straight Outta Compton,” on which he served as producer and inspiration for the film, is in the early stages of getting the project off the ground. And rights to use Gaye’s music have been secured, according to sources. Sony/ATV Music Publishing is home to Gaye’s songwriting credits.
While a deal has not closed yet, Dr. Dre is currently in talks to develop the film.
There have been multiple attempts to give Gaye the biopic treatment. The soul singer behind such hits as “What’s Going On,” “Sexual Healing,” and “Let’s Get It On” became one of Motown’s most successful artists before he was fatally shot in 1984 at age 44 by his father following a family dispute in their Los Angeles home. F. Gary Gray, Cameron Crowe, James Gandolfini, Scott Rudin, and actors including Jesse L. Martin and Lenny Kravitz all have tried to bring Gaye’s story to the screen, but until now, none had been authorized by Gaye’s family.
The most recent project to get the sign off from the Gaye estate was with Jamie Foxx who landed the rights for a limited series in 2016 but that project has seen no movement in the years since.
As for Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, the hip-hop legend has dabbled in feature projects both in front of the camera, in films like “Training Day” and “Car Wash,” as well as producing. His most recent film credit was “Straight Outta Compton,” which chronicled the rise of his hip-hop group N.W.A and was produced by Dre and fellow N.W.A member Ice Cube. The pic was a massive hit and also scored an Oscar nomination for original screenplay.
In a curious twist of fate, Dre is represented by King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, the same legal firm which defended Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams against the Gaye estate in the closely-monitored “Blurred Lines” trial in 2015. The verdict found in favor of the Gaye family, which contended that “Blurred Lines” infringed on Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up” and ordered Thicke and Williams to pay millions in statutory damages.