Here’s something fun we just heard through the (electronic) grapevine: Hip-hop icon Dr. Dre is working on a movie about R&B luminary Marvin Gaye, per an exclusive report from Variety.
Though many filmmakers and industry bigwigs — including F. Gary Gray (Friday), James Gandolfini (The Sopranos), Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous), and Lenny Kravitz — had previously tried to get projects about the singer off the ground only to be rebuffed by Gaye’s estate, it looks like Dre has the green light and is currently devising plans for production. Gaye, a Motown legend who charted 18 songs in the Billboard top 10 between 1963 and 1982, was shot and killed by his own father in 1984 following a physical altercation in the singer’s Los Angeles home. Gaye had a four-octave vocal range and is known for his ability to effortlessly switch between a raspy growl and a high falsetto at will.
Dr. Dre (real name Andre Young) made his name as a member of the popular, controversial group N.W.A. during the late 1980s and early 1990s, after which he went solo and released hit albums of his own, The Chronic and The Chronic 2001. Dre is perhaps best known for his production work, inspiring and collaborating with stars like Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and Kendrick Lamar. His work in the film world is limited to a few bit roles in movies (Training Day, Set It Off) and a credit as executive producer — alongside Ice Cube — on 2015’s Straight Outta Compton, a movie about N.W.A.
No further details have been released about the project. We don’t know what Dre’s film chops look like, but he certainly knows how to make money: Straight Outta Compton, directed by the aforementioned Gray, performed well at the box office, pulling in more than $200 million on a $50 million budget.
Actor/musician Jamie Foxx (Baby Driver) also received the go-ahead from Gaye’s camp to produce a limited series back in 2016, but we haven’t heard much about it since. Somewhat ironically, Dre is represented by the very same legal firm — King, Holmes, Paterno, and Soriano — that defended Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams from a lawsuit by the Gaye estate (claiming that Blurred Lines had illegally infringed on Got to Give it Up).
Earlier this year, Dre was involved in an $8 million settlement between his Beats headphone company and Monster Audio. Last year, HBO released a documentary about Dre’s relationship with super-producer Jimmy Iovine titled The Defiant Ones.