Deadline shared, Warner Bros has landed What’s Going On, a biopic of iconic soul singer Marvin Gaye that Allen Hughes will direct, and produce with Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine and Andrew Lazar. The studio acquired a script by poet-playwright Marcus Gardley (he wrote the musical The Color Purple for WB) and the singer’s estate and Motown are part of the deal so there will be rights to use all of Gaye’s signature songs. This finally will bring to the screen the singer’s story, after many previous attempts by different filmmakers stalled or fell short of the rights needed.
Deadline hears the studio will put up the biggest budget ever for an African American music biopic, north of $80 million. The Marvin Gaye estate and Motown are squarely aboard, with the singer’s widow, Jan Gaye, being an executive producer along with Suzanne de Passe. Hughes and the producers immediately will begin the search for the actor to play Gaye. The film is effectively greenlighted for a production start next year, for an event-ized release in 2023 that will encompass Warner Bros theatrical and HBO Max.