Which pop-music legend deserves a big-screen bio? EW movie critic Owen Gleiberman answers reader questions

By Owen Gleiberman
June 18, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
Marvin Gaye Illustration by Michael Witte

Which pop-music legend deserves a big-screen bio?

With all the news about Renée Zellweger and/or Pink playing Janis Joplin, and Andre 3000 playing Jimi Hendrix, what musician do you think should have a movie made about him, and who do you think would be right for the part? — Greg
Soulful tuxedoed crooner; reluctant Motown love god; hedonistic sexual healer; tormented genius murdered by his own father. No pop artist of the last 40 years has had a more arresting life than Marvin Gaye, and if you look at his early album covers, it’s clear who was born to play him: Taye Diggs, a superb actor with a great, honeyed voice and a virtual replica of Gaye’s killer curl of a smile. Beyoncé could take on the role of his Motown partner, Tammi Terrell, and how about Morgan Freeman as Gaye’s vengefully rivalrous father?

What film would you most like to have seen done by a different director? — Jeremy
To me, Edith Wharton’s ”The House of Mirth” is the greatest American novel. Its heroine, Lily Bart, experiences the tug-of-war between romance and material well-being as a spiritual dilemma worthy of Hamlet. In 2000, the British filmmaker Terence Davies turned Wharton’s masterpiece into a piercingly intelligent yet bloodless movie. I would have liked to have seen the adaptation done by director Iain Softley — another Brit, but one whose 1997 adaptation of Henry James’ ”The Wings of the Dove” came as close as anyone has to turning the eternal, if not metaphysical, conflict between love and money into the stuff of timeless drama.

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