Meet the Browns: Natchez twins land role in ‘Get On Up’

Published 12:01 am Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Jamarion, left, and Jordan Scott, Natchez twins, play a young James Brown in “Get On Up,” which is being filmed in Natchez.

Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Jamarion, left, and Jordan Scott, Natchez twins, play a young James Brown in “Get On Up,” which is being filmed in Natchez.

NATCHEZ — Jamarion and Jordan Scott had no idea who “The Godfather of Soul” was a couple of months ago, but soon the whole world will know the Natchez twins as young James Brown.

The 8-year-old twins were cast to play the role of young Brown in the soul singer’s biopic “Get On Up” currently being filmed in Natchez.

The boys were discovered when a casting crewmember with the film dropped by their extended day care looking for twins to use in the movie.

Email newsletter signup

The boys’ mother, Sharonica Myles said the casting crewmember set up a meeting with her and Jamarion and Jordon at The Malt Shop.

“She asked them to perform several things, and then they asked Jamarion to do a crying scene, and he did it. From there, they kept them,” Myles said.

When the boys landed the part of young Brown, Myles showed them videos on the Internet of the legendary singer.

“We saw him dance, and he danced really fast,” Jamarion said. “He did the splits, and then he came up really fast.”

Though the boys had never heard of Brown, they do have a few things in common with “The Godfather of Soul.”

“I like to sing and dance,” Jordan said. “I dance in my dreams.”

Jamarion says sometimes he can’t help but dance. “I get the music in my mind, and it makes me dance,” he said.

While other 8-year-olds might clam up when the camera is turned on, the boys are unfazed by the spotlight.

“It doesn’t bother me,” Jamarion said, shrugging his shoulders.

“Mr. Tate” gives the boys directions on what to perform in scenes.

“We don’t learn it on the paper,” Jamarion said, referring to a script. “He tells us what to do, and I do it, and I like it. I like doing scenes.”

“Mr. Tate” is Mississippian Tate Taylor, who is directing the film, which will depict Brown’s life from when he was nearly 5 years old in 1938 until he was about 60 in 1993.

Jamarion and Jordan said they enjoy scenes with “Miss Viola” and “Mr. Lennie,” or Viola Davis and Lennie James, who play Brown’s on-screen parents.

The boys have missed a few days of school at West Primary for filming, but they have a teacher on set who reviews lessons with them, Myles said.

Myles has taken some time off her job at the Natchez Grand Hotel to focus on being there for her boys on set. Myles says she never dreamed that she would be sitting on set among Hollywood stars watching her boys bring young James Brown to life on camera.

“Watching them perform, I didn’t even know they had it in them,” she said.

Taylor said Jamarion and Jordan are perfect examples of why he loves bringing films to Mississippi. “These Natchez locals have never acted in their lives, and yet they are complete naturals in front of the camera,” Taylor said. “Discovering this sort of raw, untapped talent in Mississippi seems to have a special way about it, you can’t recreate it.”

Myles said she feels fortunate that her boys have had the opportunity to be a part of “Get On Up” and is thankful Taylor made that happen.

Taylor said opening the door to acting for Jordan and Jamarion has been rewarding for him.

“It’s really rewarding to expose them to a craft that they never would have had an opportunity to be a part of if ‘Get On Up’ wasn’t filmed in Natchez,” he said. “Jordan and Jamarion are such a delight on and off screen. They have been a special part of our crew family, and I am looking into hiring them again.”

The boys clearly have the talent for the big screen, but the decision of whether they want to pursue a career in acting will be up to them, Myles said.

“Yes, (I will encourage them), but I also want them to do something they want to do,” she said.

The boys nod their head in agreement when asked if they want to be in more movies.

“It’s really fun,” Jordan said.