Dr. Dre’s Next Film Project Is Bringing Marvin Gaye’s Life To The Big Screen

Dr. Dre has a great history of mixing music and film, and he’s using that experience in attempting to bring to life the story of Marvin Gaye on the big screen. Dre famously was a producer for the 2015 N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton, and now he’s reportedly in the early stages of bringing a film about the legendary singer/songwriter to fruition.

According to Variety, the Compton, California native has the rights to use Gaye’s music, and a representative for Sony/ATV confirmed to Rolling Stone that a deal is in place to begin work on a biopic, however, among other conditions, Dre and anyone else who would want to do a film on Gaye would need the approval of Motown founder Berry Gordy to proceed. Previously James Gandolfini, F. Gary Gray, Scott Rudin, and Cameron Crowe have all attempted to make a similar film.

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In 2016, Marvin Gaye’s family granted Jamie Foxx the rights to develop a limited series about the singer. That project has not moved forward as of yet. Perhaps Dr. Dre’s previous success in film, with an added understanding of the music business and musical talent in general, can help propel the project along. Film-wise he’s perhaps best known for producing the Oscar-nominated Straight Outta Compton, a biographical film about N.W.A. – the late ’80s/early ’90s Gangsta Rap group he was a member of, alongside Ice Cube, Eazy-E, MC Ren, and DJ Yella. It isn’t the only time he’s dabbled in film work, however.

As an actor, Dre made his first on-screen feature-length appearance, playing a weapons dealer, in the 1996 bank robbery film Set It Off. He also appeared in the movies Training Day and The Wash. As a producer, Dre put together a series of horror films for Crucial Films, a New Line Cinema-owned company, alongside video director Phillip Atwell. In 2017, Dr. Dre offered much on-screen insight into former Interscope Records Chairman Jimmy Iovine’s life for The Defiant Onesa documentary about Iovine’s life and accomplishments in the music industry. Previous to features, Dre co-directed (with Fab 5 Freddy) 1994’s Murder Was The Case short film. He also directed a series of music videos for Death Row.

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Marvin Gaye was not only a legendary singer and songwriter, but was crucial in helping shape Motown, a record company that played an important role in the racial integration of popular music by achieving crossover success as an African American-owned label. As a solo artist, Gaye created some of the greatest hits, including “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” and “Ain’t That Peculiar.” His albums What’s Going On and Let’s Get It On are widely regarded as classics. Gaye passed away in 1984.

Early on his production run, Dre (and then-partner, DJ Yella) sampled Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” hit for Eazy-E’s 1987 solo single, “8 Ball.”