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Biopics about Sammy Davis Jr. and Marvin Gaye are now in the works

Photo: Larry Ellis (Getty Images), John Minihan (Getty Images/Evening Standard)

It must be a good day to make movies about the lives of real people, as Deadline says producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has begun developing a Sammy Davis Jr. biopic and Variety says Dr. Dre has begun developing a Marvin Gaye biopic. Both projects sound very early, with the Deadline story saying that Paramount hasn’t hired a writer or director for the project but plans to do so “soon.” The movie will reportedly be largely based on the memoir Yes I Can: The Story Of Sammy Davis, Jr., with Lionel Richie (who is also on board as a producer) helping to secure the various rights needed to make this movie happen.

As for Marvin Gaye, Variety says Dr. Dre has at least secured the rights to his songs, which should always be the first step when making a biopic about a musician. We don’t really know anything else beyond that, but Variety implies that that Dre is hoping this will live up to the success of Straight Outta Compton (even though this one won’t prominently feature Dr. Dre as a character). The last attempt to tell Marvin Gaye’s story came from Jamie Foxx in 2016, but this is unrelated to that. Also, Variety notes that Dre is represented by the same law firm that lost to Marvin Gaye’s family in the big “Blurred Lines” lawsuit, which—at the risk of being hyperbolic—is mildly interesting.


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