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Jesse L. Martin will be starring in Sexual Healing, the Marvin Gaye biopic, after producers stirred controversy by hiring Lenny Kravitz for the job. The late iconic singer’s son spoke out against the decision, so the filmmakers are going back to Martin.
Martin, who appeared as Detective Green on Law & Order for several seasons, was first attached to play Gaye in 2008, but after years of being delayed, the project started getting moving again last fall. At that point, Kravitz replaced Martin and Marvin Gaye III called the decision “very wrong and shameful.” He was also annoyed with the decision to tell the story of his father’s last years, when Gaye was in Europe and trying to get his career back on track.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film, titled after Gaye’s last big hit, will be directed by Julien Temple and produced by James Gandolfini, who hoped to play music promoter Freddy Cousaert. That role will now be handled by Brendan Gleeson. Vassal Benton and Fred Bestall are co-producing and production will start in Europe this month.
Sexual Healing is set in the 1980s, when Gaye battled alcohol addiction and depression. He managed to get his life back on track, recording the hit album Midnight Love and the hit single the film is named after. Gaye was shot by his father in 1984.
Martin also starred in the film version of Rent and recently appeared in the NBC pilot The Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives. That project is competing for a slot this fall.