While porcupine-becoiffed superproducer Brian Grazer (don't worry—we won't use the headshot) has long been developing a big screen treatment of James Brown's life story with the cooperation of the legend himself, just two days after the singer's death comes a report that Spike Lee has signed on to direct. And although Grazer wasn't necessarily looking for a Hollywood ending, something about Brown hip-gyrating off this mortal coil on Christmas Day makes for a satisfyingly spectacular conclusion to the life of a Soul Messiah:
"Like everybody, I was surprised and saddened that James Brown died," Daily Variety quoted Grazer as saying. "Having known him well, and after spending lots of time with him and researching his life, it's somehow not surprising that he died on Christmas Day. He was the ultimate showman, all the way to the end."
We trust Lee won't take this theme to its ridiculous extremes, and surround his subject's hospital death bed with a variety of manger animals and three wise men—not even Brown's William Morris representatives and lawyer, who might have been lurking in the hospital corridors during his last hours to ensure the final paperwork hurdles to filming his life story were signed. Let the casting debates begin: We only pray the role doesn't land on the go-to guy for African American musical prodigy biopics, Jamie Foxx, and perhaps instead falls on the shoulders of the less obvious choice, who will convey everything we need to know about Brown's passion, pipes, and moves through the use of nothing more than an extraordinarily expressive face.