Fast and Furious star Tyrese Gibson will play the late R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass, who became quadriplegic after a traffic accident, in an upcoming biopic. The film will be produced and released by Warner Bros. following the studio's acquisition of Pendergrass' life rights.
Pendergrass began his singing career as the lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes in the 1970s, which is how he first rose to stardom, before continuing as a solo artist. However, his life was changed forever by a devastating car crash in 1982, which resulted in a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down. Though his career was derailed by the accident, Pendergrass made an amazing comeback, returning to the stage at the 1985 Live Aid concert and continuing to perform up until just a few years before his death from colon cancer in 2010.
Variety reports that Gibson will not only star in the biopic, but will also produce through his company Voltron Pictures in collaboration executive producers Lee Daniels (Empire) and Donald De Line (Ready Player One). Pendergrass' widow, Joan Pendergrass, will also serve as an executive producer on the film. The biopic will be scripted by Little Marvin, creator of the upcoming Amazon horror series Them. To celebrate the movie getting the green light, Gibson shared a video on social media of himself, Daniels, De Line, Pendergrass and Marvin leaving the pitch meeting at Warner Bros.
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This is the moment we walked out of our “pitch” meeting with Kevin McCormick there was a feeling that the Teddy Pendergrass movie was going to happen....... Warner Bros we are honored to take this journey with you!!!! ( see the link in my bio with the DEADLINE announcement) Honored to take this journey this is a role that I feel I was born to play... Teddy Pendergrass embraced me and before died he put the responsibility on my shoulders to tell his story... So of course being here in this time , space and moment to take this journey with another Philadelphia legend and genius director Lee Daniels, Donald Deline, little Marvin and Kevin McCormick at Warner Bros is an answered prayer all in itself... Teddy I hope we make you, your wife and family proud...: Here we go!!! @littlemarvin @theoriginalbigdaddy @charliemackfirstout here we go!!!!!!!! To Hod be ALL the glory!!!
Gibson is currently best known for his recurring role as Roman Pearce, a core member of the crew in the Fast & Furious movie franchise. He is set to return in upcoming sequel Fast & Furious 9, which is expected to begin filming in April and will arrive in theaters in May 2020. Since it's still early days for the Pendergrass biopic (which doesn't have a director attached just yet), and Gibson will be preoccupied with Fast 9 for a while, we probably won't get to see him playing the determined R&B singer until 2021 at the earliest.
Of course, with any music biopic it's ideal to have a star who can actually sing, and Gibson is more than qualified in that regard. In addition to his acting career he's also a singer-songwriter and has released six solo studio albums so far, with his seventh - a rap album titled Identity Theft - set for release later this year. He's certainly a busy man, but we hope to bring you more updates on the Teddy Pendergrass biopic soon.