Chadwick Boseman (right) as James Brown and Nelsan Ellis (left) as sidekick Bobby Byrd. (Courtesy Photo)
Chadwick Boseman stars as James Brown in “Get On Up.” (Courtesy Photo)
Chadwick Boseman stars as James Brown in “Get On Up.” (Courtesy Photo)

(USA Today) – Getting Get On Up to the screen was a drama in itself.

Producer Brian Grazer, who grew up loving James Brown’s music, got the notion for the movie in the late ’90s while working on another movie about music, 8 Mile.

“I met James Brown several times, went to several of his concerts, and I ended up getting the rights from James Brown to his life story,” Grazer says. “And I had several different writers work on this script. I was prepared to make the movie, and James Brown dies.” It was Christmas Day, 2006. The film rights reverted to the James Brown estate.

Mick Jagger was able to obtain rights to Brown’s music, and a friend asked if he would like to work on a documentary. Jagger came back with the idea of doing a James Brown feature as well, not knowing about Grazer’s dejection. Research turned up the script written for Grazer by English playwrights Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth.


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