Chadwick Boseman Gets Down in First Look at James Brown Biopic, ‘Get On Up’

By January 13, 2014

Get On Up

Mere months after playing baseball legend Jackie Robinson on the big screen in 42, rising star Chadwick Boseman is back with yet another biographical role, and this one is going to require the use of some very different (but still athletic) moves.

Boseman will next star as music legend James Brown in Tate Taylor’s Get On Up. It’s a big demand for two relatively new stars – Boseman’s first big film role was in 42, and Taylor’s The Help might have pulled in the accolades back 2011, but the film was his first and Get On Up will only be his sophomore effort – yet the film is certainly looking impressive and energetic in this first official look.

Entertainment Weekly shares our first still from Get On Up, and SURPRISE!, Boseman appears to be rocking out as the Godfather of Soul, complete with some big old hair and an even bigger horn section. While Boseman isn’t doing all of his own singing in the film, he is doing some – his voice will be overlayed with some of Brown’s own jams. Yet that might be the only big tweak to the material, because Get On Up sounds like it might be a rare bird in the biopic world – an honest one.


Taylor’s take on the material sure sounds compelling, as he told EW, “As I dug in and started to discover more about him, the good and the bad, I loved the reasons he was often bad and I loved the reasons he was good…I love that he would stop at nothing to keep reinventing himself so he could stay current, and as a result he changed music.” The good and the bad? We certainly hope so – the last thing we need is another sanitized biopic of a complicated public figure. Here’s hoping that Taylor and Boseman don’t back down on a warts-and-all look at Brown (with awesome music, of course).

Get On Up will hit theaters on August 1.

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Kate Erbland
Kate Erbland is a staff writer for movie news and reviews at GeekNation. Her work can also be found at Film School Rejects, ScreenCrush, Vanity Fair, The Dissolve, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, amNewYork, New York Daily News, Dame Magazine, Mental Floss,, MSN Movies, and Boxoffice Magazine. She lives in New York City with two cats, two turtles, one boyfriend, and a frightening number of sensible canvas totes.