When the movie director Tate Taylor first considered making a motion picture about the life of James Brown, his first question was, “Is Dan Aykroyd available?” After checking Aykroyd’s Facebook page, in which Aykroyd depicts himself holding glass skulls filled with booze, Taylor safely assumed that the answer was “yes.” So it is that, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Aykroyd will co-star in next year’s James Brown biopic Get On Up, alongside singer Jill Scott as Brown’s wife. The legendary musician himself will be portrayed by Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson in 42 this year and who has no known association with skulls.
Aykroyd will play Ben Bart, the president of the talent agency that represented Brown for most of his career. Bart’s outfit, Universal Attractions, also represented such artists as Cootie Williams, Joe Tex, and Little Willie John. But Bart courageously broke his own “you must have an awesome name for me to represent you” rule to accept Brown as a client. The gutsy move paid off: Brown played a seminal role in the emergence of funk music, and he became known as The Godfather Of Soul—meaning that if soul’s real parents ever died, Brown would be there to take care of it. And Dan Aykroyd will portray the person who negotiated The Godfather Of Soul’s contracts.