In a summer packed to the gills with studio blockbusters like Transformers: Age of Extinction and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, one of the films I’m most excited about is Get On Up, a biopic sure to be dwarfed by the film it’s opening against (a little movie by the name of Guardians of the Galaxy). Regardless of how it fares at the box office, Get On Up looks like it could be one of the best movies of the summer. Directed by The Help helmer Tate Taylor and starring 42‘s Chadwick Boseman, the film charts the rise of James Brown, the Godfather of Soul himself.
The latest trailer for the biopic approaches its subject from a biographical standpoint, opening with shots of Brown’s troubled childhood. “Wanna know me?” He says. “I’ll tell you. Dad in the army. Mama left. No one else helped me.” Soon enough, however, we’re seeing Brown take the stage by force and shoot to stardom, visiting the White House and touring the country on a private jet. That’s when Brown’s birth mother Susie (Viola Davis) re-enters the picture, looking to reconnect with her famous son.
What comes across most prominently in this footage is that Boseman looks really, really good in the part. Not only does it appear that he has nailed Brown’s passionate stage presence, but it also seems as if the actor has the dramatic range to convey the icon’s struggles in his turbulent personal life.
The supporting cast also looks superb, with such fine actors as Octavia Spencer, Nelsan Ellis, Lennie James, Tika Sumpter, Jill Scott and Dan Aykroyd. Add in Taylor, a skilled director who turned The Help into an emotionally charged Oscar contender, sitting behind the camera, and it’s hard to imagine Get On Up being anything other than a massive success.
Get On Up hits theaters August 1st.