In response to 3.13.14 HE piece called “The New Ray?,” HE commenter Anna Zed wrote the following: “I knew James Brown, and his bombastic personality and absolutely unmistakeable personal style (not to mention his checkered personal life) really don’t seem like they would lend themselves to this kind of glossy wash to me.
“As you say physically he was a very dark-skinned black man, intensely muscular and frenetic, thick necked and small (not matinee idol material at all, or even lead singer style for the period that he emerged) who just burst past all of these qualities that might seem to have hindered his appeal by sheer force of will, fantastic charisma, unstoppable originality as a musical stylist and an almost psychotic belief in himself (like Muhammad Ali).
“Chadwick Boseman is lithe and handsome but sort of winsome and sweet and nonthreatening. I see none of this in him. Brown was personally and politically intimidating and people were genuinely either enthralled or shocked (or both) by him throughout his entire life.”
Tate Taylor‘s Get On Up (Universal 8.1.14) “might be a successful film, but who is the audience? Worshipers of Brown’s inimitable funk stylings and in-your-face blackness will be turned-off. Ordinary African American filmgoers might be indifferent and the white audience that likes glossy images of black performers (like Ray or Dreamgirls) might be indifferent too. Whereas the real dangerous, gritty, improbable life of James Brown is quite a story. Maybe the performances can lift it up.”