A big screen documentary about the legendary and ill-fated singer/songwriter Marvin Gaye is currently in the works. Set during the eventful Motown era, the project, called What’s Going On—which of course is also the title of Gaye’s famous 1971 record—focuses on the creation of the album.
In a statement, the producers describe the film as “the defining portrait of this visionary artist and his impeccable album.”
Gaye’s children—Nona, Marvin III and Frankie—and his former wife Janis are significantly involved in the project; and, while acknowledging that their father was a complex man, they have expressed confidence in Noah Media Group’s ability to tell his story. In a joint statement, the said, “We look forward to participating and sharing what we can through friends, family, photos, footage and priceless stories that only those who knew our father up close and personal would know, as well as his contemporaries, purists and fans who have studied him and his art over decades.”
The family’s cooperation adds credibility to the project and should make a big difference to fans, especially since this will be the first time they have supported a film biography of the singer.
Gabriel Clarke (Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans) and Torquil Jones (The Journey) will co-direct the film. Their partners at Noah Media Group, John McKenna and Victoria Barrell, are producing.
Marvin Gaye experienced the highest peaks of success as one of the most popular R&B artist of all time, with memorable hits such as “Let’s Get It On,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Sexual Healing.” However, he also struggled with drug abuse, leading to a dark period of his life that culminated in a domestic dispute, during which he was killed by his own father in 1984.