“The Godfather of Soul” James Brown was an icon in music who’s career spanned six decades and spawned anthems like ‘Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud,’ ‘Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine,’ ‘Living in America’ and ‘It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,’ among countless others.
The Toccoa, Georgia-bred entertainer was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; received a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement in addition to Grammy Awards for his work; saluted at the Kennedy Center Honors; was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame; and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
As infamous for his personal life as he was famous for his music, Brown was famous for his high-energy live shows and toured all the way up until he died at age 73 from congestive heart failure resulting from complications of pneumonia.
To support the biopic about his life, “Get On Up,” the film’s stars have been on a whirlwind tour very much like Brown did regularly, promoting the movie’s Aug. 1 release.
AlwaysAList.com caught up with the “Get On Up’s” Chadwick Boseman (Brown), Nelsan Ellis (Bobby Byrd) and director Tate Taylor in New Orleans during the Essence Music Festival to talk about the anticipated feature.
“It feels good. I mean, it feels good. It’s like a dream type thing,” Ellis beamed, talking about the rock star schedule the cast has been living promoting this movie. “Every actor wants to act and act in movies that gives them accolades. It feels like a dream.”
Taylor, fresh off his highly acclaimed and box office smash “The Help,” said he’s happy there’s so much positive buzz about “Get On Up.”
“It feels damn good. You work this hard making movies, it’s hard. It’s your baby and to get that feeling that people want to come see and hold your baby, it’s great. You can tell that the excitement is there and I feel confident that we all delivered,” he offered.
Delivered is exactly what Boseman, who has become one of Hollywood’s brightest young stars, did in “Get On Up.” His embodiment of Brown and the tenacity in which he executes this role has industry types declaring his film could do for him what “Ray” did for Jamie Foxx.
“It’s the first I’ve heard of it,” the 37-year-old talent said about the compliment. “I don’t pay attention to most of it. My publicist has to tell me when to read something. So it’s the first time I’ve heard it and I think it’s the best way to be.”
“If you get caught up in it while you’re doing it, your head is in the wrong place. If you get caught up in it afterwards while we’re trying to sell the movie, your head will be in the wrong place. That’s for you guys to do and not for me to really focus on,” he explained.
Though his last biopic “42,” the story of Jackie Robinson, was box office blockbuster and there’s tremendous hoopla over his starring role in “Get On Up,” Boseman does want to be known as the biopic actor. “I did do ‘Draft Day’ in between these two films,” he laughed.
While depicting iconic characters on the big screen garner him lots of attention, Boseman said he views all acting work the same.
“There’s no way I feel like I could have gone from Jackie Robinson to James Brown. For me, I think a role is a role. You’re using the same acting skills I would be using if I was playing Othello or Hamlet or George W. Bush or Barack Obama. It’s the same techniques that you use, but you’re applying them from the perspective of having more research to do and having specific things to look at. You can’t just go willy-nilly and just roll with it and make up whatever you want,” he concluded.
“Get On Up” hits theaters on Friday.
VIDEOS: Watch two trailers for “Get On Up” below.