June 6, 2008–F. Gary Gray will direct “Marvin,” a biopic of Marvin Gaye, the iconic singer who was shot to death by his father in 1984. C. Gaby Mitchell (“Blood Diamond”) will write the script and David Foster will produce with Duncan McGillivray.
The producers have the complete music rights to Gaye's catalog, including the hits that made him Motown's biggest solo male star, including “Ain't No Mountain High Enough,” “Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “What's Goin' On” and “Let's Get It On.” Plan is to have the star of the film lip synch to Gaye's recordings.
Gray (“The Italian Job”) has been wanting to tell Gaye's story, but the inability to secure music rights was an obstacle.
Gray said his movie will cover Gaye's entire life, from his emergence at Motown through his defiance of Berry Gordy to record “What's Goin' On” and on up to his death.
The music rights were secured by McGillivray, the former Bank of America exec who once arranged credit lines for studios and producers in the 1980s. “My mantra was, no music, no movie, but to me, the core story is a man who spent his whole life trying to justify and prove himself to a father who beat him down physically and later mentally,” said McGillivray. “His father was a cross-dressing, alcoholic Baptist minister who was let off the hook for shooting his son.”
Vet producer Foster was brought in to guide the picture, which will be a co-production of David Foster Prods. and McGillivray's Film by Humans. DFP's Ryan Heppe is co-producing
A competing picture, “Sexual Healing,” produced by James Gandolfini, who has a role, and starring Jesse L. Martin, will focus on the singer's declining years, because the filmmakers have rights to use songs only from his post-Motown career. That film has not begun production.