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Singer James Brown performs on Oct. 18, 2002, in Las Vegas. / SCOTT HARRISON/GETTY IMAGES
Tate Taylor, the Mississippi native who directed "The Help," said Monday that he'll make a biographical feature film about James Brown in the state, starting this fall.
"Every frame will be shot in Mississippi. We're even doing Paris, France, in Mississippi. ... Vietnam, as well, in Mississippi," Taylor said at the Mississippi Coliseum on the state fairgrounds in Jackson, where some scenes will be shot.
Filming will take place in November and December in and near Natchez, a Mississippi River town in the southwestern corner of the state; and in January and February in the capital city of Jackson, said Taylor, who grew up in Jackson and now has a home near Natchez.
Taylor said he could know within the next week who will play Brown.
"Those are tough shoes to fill," he said.
Asked if a well-known actor or a newcomer is likely to land the role, Taylor said: "I tend to go toward relative unknowns."
Taylor will direct the biopic. His co-producers for the movie are Mick Jagger andBrian Grazer, he said.
"James Brown, really, was the first real dancer that broke the ground of how people move," Taylor said. "And Mick Jagger has complimented that and tipped his hat to that forever."
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant joined Taylor in announcing the project and said the state will provide incentives, including rebates of up to 30 percent of the payroll for state residents hired on the project. It's not yet possible to put a dollar figure on the state incentive package, Bryant said, because the movie is still in the planning stage.
Mississippi lawmakers earlier this year increased the incentives that the state offers to movie makers. The new law, signed by Bryant, says the state could provide rebates of up to $10 million per project for nationally distributed feature films, documentaries and TV shows.
Brown, who died in 2006 at 73, was known as "the hardest working man in show business" and as the "Godfather of Soul." He is known for hit such as 1965's "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" and 1985's "Living in America." Brown was born in 1933 in South Carolina and grew up in Georgia. Taylor said Mississippi provides a similar look because it is "on that same line of latitude."
The film will begin when Brown was about 5 years old and will extend to about 1993, Taylor said, declining to give details about what parts of Brown's life will be depicted: "You have to buy a ticket and come see it."
Brown performed a concert at the Mississippi Coliseum in February 1969, although it was not immediately clear whether that concert will be depicted in the movie. Taylor said the coliseum's interior will stand in for Boston Gardens, where Brown played a concert and calmed an audience after the Rev. Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968; and downtown Jackson will stand in for downtown Cincinnati, home of King Records.
"The Help," released in 2011, was filmed in several Mississippi locations, including Greenwood and Jackson. Taylor said he wants to develop the film industry in the state.
"I think with all of our hard work, we will soon see great talent rising up from our native soil," Taylor said.
(So far, no word on if The Famous Flames will appear in the film, and if so, who will play them. We'll keep you posted on any new info that develops).
Sep 4 13 9:12 AM
“The Help” director Tate Taylor is helming the pic with Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins producing along with Mick Jagger and Victoria Pearman under their Jagged Films banner. Trish Hofmann and Peter Afterman will exec produce.
Jez and John Henry Butterworth penned the script.
Pic follows Brown’s rise from extreme poverty in Georgia to becoming a world famous and highly influential R&B musician with a string of hits in the 1960s and ’70s including “Please, Please, Please,” “I Got You (I Feel Good),” “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and many others. Brown died in 2006 at age 73.
Co-President of Production Peter Cramer and Vice President of Production Maradith Frenkel will oversee the project for Universal.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Taylor announced today that the a lot of the film would be shot in Mississippi.
Grazer has been trying to make a Brown biopic for more than a decade. The project gained momentum after Taylor boarded the project. The studio has been working out budget issues while meeting with prospective thesps to play Brown.
Several actors were vying for the role, but Boseman emerged as the top choice a few weeks ago, though no offer could be made until the pic was formally greenlit.
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