All-star cast joins local filmmaking

Published 12:08 am Sunday, November 3, 2013

NATCHEZ — Filming for the James Brown biopic, “Get on Up” is slated to start Monday with an all-star cast that expanded last week.

The film, which will be directed by Tate Taylor who also directed the Academy Award-nominated film “The Help,” will depict Brown’s life from when he was nearly 5 years old in 1938 until he was about 60 in 1993.

Executive producer Trish Hofmann said movie officials confirmed several new cast members last week including Dan Aykroyd, Jill Scott and Craig Robinson.

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Aykroyd, who is renowned for his roles in “The Blues Brothers” and “Ghostbusters,” will play the part of Ben Bart, the president of the agency that represented Brown for decades.

Scott is a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and will play the part of Brown’s second wife, Deidre “Deedee” Jenkins.

Robinson, best known for his role as Darryl Philbin on the NBC sitcom “The Office,” will play Maceo Parker, a funk and soul saxophonist who played with Brown in the 1960s.

Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed Jackie Robinson in “42,” will play Brown.

Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, who both starred in “The Help,” also have roles in the film.

“Slowly but surely, we’re getting all the cast together, and we’re almost fully cast,” Hofmann said. “Extras, extras, extras is sort of our big thing right now.

“We really need a ton of extras for some of the concert sequences, and it’s been a real challenge to get the number we need for many of the scenes.”

Hofmann said movie officials are seeking young, black men to play American soldiers in a scene that will depict Vietnam, which will be shot at the Natchez-Adams County airport in December.

A variety of other roles including white and black men, women and children of all ages are also needed.

Those interested in signing up to be an extra in the film can visit for more information.

Hofmann said movie officials are also seeking a variety of cars from the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s to be featured in the movie.

Those interested in having their cars featured can call 601-304-2294.

Apart from casting extras, Hofmann said the majority of the movie’s production focus will now shift to filming scenes throughout Natchez and Adams County.

“Once we start shooting, it’s like a speeding train,” Hofmann said. “We don’t advertise where or what day we’re going to shoot scenes, but we’ll be all over the area.”

Movie officials with hair and makeup and wardrobe departments are also in town attempting to master the looks of the various time periods in the movie.

“We had our hair and makeup tests (Friday), which was really fun to test out all the different looks and wardrobes,” Hofmann said. “People may start seeing James Brown walking around Natchez.”