Without James Brown – "the Godfather of Soul" – the last half-century's worth of music would have looked and sounded considerably different. A seemingly inexhaustible ball of creative energy, Brown was a consummate performer and innovator, forever changing soul, funk, and R&B (as well as their genre spinoffs) in the course of a career spanning almost six decades.
All of this is made more astonishing by the details of Brown's early life – born into a broken family, the singer barely made it past the seventh grade and was in prison for armed robbery by age 16. His extraordinary rise from these circumstances provides the backbone of the upcoming film Get on Up, which has released a new trailer for international audiences.
A much slimmer preview than its predecessor, this trailer focuses more heavily on Brown's hard-luck origin story of brutal poverty and his mother's abandonment. Unlike the first trailer's emphasis on Brown's monumental success, these clips suggest deep pain and resentment behind the man's career.
Comparisons between Get on Up and previous musical biopics (Ray and Walk the Line in particular) are unavoidable – especially with this newest look at the movie and its eye toward family drama. Of course, the similarities between these films are perhaps inevitable, given that all three of their subjects struggled with filial disappointment, drug use, and encounters with the law. Can Get on Up distinguish itself enough to rise above such comparisons and carve its own place in the pantheon of great biopics?
Directed by Tate Taylor (The Help), Get on Up stars Chadwick Boseman (42), Viola Davis (Ender's Game), Octavia Spencer (Snowpiercer), Lennie James (The Walking Dead), Dan Aykroyd (Behind the Candelabra), and Craig Robinson (This Is the End).
Get on Up will do the mashed potato into theaters on August 1st, 2014.
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