So Long, Lenny Kravitz! Jesse L. Martin Starring in Marvin Gaye Biopic

Jesse L Martin as Marvin Gaye

Now this is who you get to play Marvin Gaye in a biopic. 

Sexual Healing, from director Julien Temple (Bullet, Earth Girls Are Easy), was originally slated to star Lenny Kravitz as the beloved R&B musician, but the “Stand” singer has since dropped out of the project, leaving ample space for Jesse L. Martin to step in and take on the iconic role, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Martin, interestingly enough, had actually been attached to a different Gaye biopic that eventually fell dormant.

RELATED: Lenny Kravitz to Play Marvin Gaye in Biopic

Of course, it should come as no surprise that multiple casting directors took aim at the Broadway star (who became relatively famous after playing Tom Collins, the openly gay philosopher, in Broadway’s beloved Rent): he can sing in a sweet, velvetty tone not unlike Gaye himself, and Martin looks remarkably like the deceased singer. 

Sexual Healing,  named after Gaye’s famous sensual tune, has undergone some changes since Kravitz was attached, changing the focus from Gaye’s struggles with drugs to his attempt to climb out of the chasm his problems caused. In fact, Martin signing on to the biopic actually brings the actor back to Sexual Healing — the actor was previously attached to the film in 2006, when it was conceived as an HBO movie. Now the movie finally aims to come to fruition, making the wise choice of replacing the spastic Kravitz with the smooth (and appropriately sensual) Martin. 

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[Photo Credit: Victoria Will/AP Photo]


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Celebrity Editor Kelsea Stahler was born in a pile of dirt. Okay, she was actually born in an old Naval hospital in San Diego, which then became a pile of dirt and remained as such for a number of years before becoming a parking lot perfectly sized for circus tents, and finally a museum. She eventually left San Diego to attend New York University, where she studied Journalism and English literature — two less-than profitable liberal arts degrees about which guidance counselors warned her. Against all odds, she now resides in Brooklyn, where she fights the constant fear that the locals will soon discover she isn’t quite cool enough to live there, and makes a living writing absurd, pop culture features about Batman, zombies, vampires, funny people, and Ron Swanson.

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