Last week Lenny Kravitz confirmed he would be playing Marvin Gaye in an upcoming biopic currently titled "Sexual Healing." The film that’s currently in pre-production reportedly focuses on Gaye’s life in the 1980s when the Motown legend battled drug abuse and depression.
Gaye’s son Marvin Gaye III tells TMZ his family doesn’t support the project and that he’s upset Lenny Kravitz accepted the role to play his father.
The project is being led by English film director Julien Temple who started his career with short films featuring the Sex Pistols. His credits include directing documentaries on Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston and David Bowie.
Here’s an excerpt of Marvin Gaye III’s interview with TMZ:
Marvin Gaye III tells TMZ, "The producers and directors of this film are very wrong and shameful … [They’re] trying to do a film about a low period in his life. They don’t even know the whole story."
Marvin’s son says he and Kravitz were schoolmates — and remain friends to this day — so he wants to "talk to him about why he would do this."
Marvin Jr. tells us he and other family members are meeting with lawyers to try to stop production — and added, "I would hope [Lenny] doesn’t have any idea that we are against this film being done."
Marvin Gaye III’s criticism sounds similar to recent comments made by Nina Simone’s daughter about an unauthorized biopic on her mother. Simone’s daughter wrote an open-letter to fans in September to say "The Nina Simone Estate was never asked permission nor invited to participate" in the film titled "Nina." The film is currently in post production.
Actor Mike Epps is playing the role of Richard Pryor in "Nina." Epps reached out to Pryor’s widow Jennifer Pryor before signing on to play the role, TMZ reported in October.