James Brown film in works

No production details have been completed for a film documenting the life of Augusta area soul singer James Brown.

Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer, Mick Jagger and The Help director Tate Taylor are joining forces to make a long-awaited biopic about Augusta music superstar James Brown, according to published reports and Brown family members.


“It’s a great honor to be involved with a project as rich as the story of the legendary James Brown,” Jagger, the lead singer of the Rolling Stones, told Deadline magazine. “He was a mesmerizing performer with a fascinating life.”

The team has purchased rights from Brown’s estate to make the film and has “made it very clear they want to work with the family,” said Brown’s daughter Deanna Brown Thomas.

Her father had a relationship that began in the 1990s with Grazer, who founded Imagine with film director Ron Howard in 1986, but Brown didn’t want the movie made during his lifetime, his daughter said.

Though no production details have been completed,including the movie’s title and the actors to play Brown, Brown Thomas said she didn’t think it could be made without using sites around Augusta, North Augusta and Beech Island, where Brown lived and had headquarters for his businesses.

“I believe it’s going to be one of those films to impact future generations,” she said. “This is going to be one of those movies that lasts forever.”

Brown’s widow, Tomi Rae Brown, who is raising their 11-year-old son, James II, said Wednesday the film will be worth the long wait.

“It’s going to take as long as it takes to make the best possible picture about James Brown,” she said. “It’s not going to be done halfway, and the people who are doing it are not going to give up until it’s perfect.”

Brown Thomas told Deadline that her “father’s music has been a beacon to people all over the world, and now his life story will impact future generations and show why he is respected as the Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown.”

Brown Thomas heads the family foundation, which continues his charitable legacies of Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas toy giveaways for needy Augusta families, and she recently founded the James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils, which fosters musical talent to help kids “stay on the good foot.”

Brown Thomas said Wednesday the film will be a great thing for the area where Brown made his home.

“The CSRA can be proud,”
she said. “They have a national treasure that’s from this area, and now it’s going to be on the big screen for the world to see.”

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