The big-screen making of sex machine James Brown

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Even when the cameras weren’t rolling, the solid and crew addressed him as “Mr. Brown” on the set — and it’s straightforward to see why.

Actor Chadwick Boseman’s transformation into James Brown for Friday’s biopic “Get on Up” is fairly convincing.

Here’s the way it occurred.

James BrownGetty Images


The appearance-obsessed Brown as soon as wrote, “Hair is the very first thing. And enamel the second. Hair and enamel. A person bought these two issues, he’s bought all of it.” Robert Stevenson, the movie’s “wig marketing consultant,” had 9 hairpieces made.

Brown modified appears commonly and infrequently wished a unique look from that of his band members so he’d stand out.

Stevenson’s favourite coiffure? The pompadour, of course. He added items to current wigs to offer the do extra top and physique.


Boseman performed Brown from age 16 all the way in which to age 63, so the make-up division had their work reduce out for them. Technicians helped ease Boseman into previous age through the use of prosthetics to offer him eye luggage and a turkey-neck.

Boseman additionally donned a fats go well with that added two inches to his waist. Preparing the actor to play younger James Brown took about an hour, whereas making him appear like previous James Brown took two-and-a-half.

Chadwick Boseman stars in “Get on Up.”D Stevens/Universal Pictures


The filmmakers opted to make use of precise Brown recordings for the film’s live performance scenes, so Boseman needed to lip-sync alongside. The actor does sing in his personal voice throughout a couple of non-performance scenes.


Costume designer Sharen Davis long-established some 50 completely different costumes for Boseman to put on through the movie.

The Godfather of Soul’s live performance outfits have been replicated as carefully as doable. Because Boseman, at 6-foot-1, is 5 inches taller than Brown stood, Davis loosened the actor’s pants to make his silhouette seem stockier.


Boseman labored lengthy and exhausting with choreographer Aakomon Jones to duplicate Brown’s signature dance strikes.

The actor practiced as a lot as eight hours a day for weeks previous to taking pictures. “To dance like him is rather more troublesome than you notice,” Boseman says. “The components of your physique are shifting in numerous instructions, and he’s by no means nonetheless on the mike. He’s at all times shifting. But there’s one thing about his music that takes you to a unique place in your self. You attain a degree the place you need to let it drive you.”

Boseman even managed to nail Brown’s splits: On one grueling day, he estimates he carried out 90 to 100 reps of the transfer.

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