A Rick James Biopic is reportedly in development. Fans of the legendary musician have been wanting to see his story on the big screen for years and it appears it may actually be happening now. No cast or director has been announced, but this could end up being one of the biggest music biopics of all time, possibly even putting Bohemian Rhapsody to shame in terms of box office receipts. James was an incredible performer who did not stop when he was off of the stage.
The Rick James biopic is currently in the pre-production stage and more news is expected to drop soon. James started his musical career as a teen in New York when he dodged the draft in the early 1960s and fled to Canada. There, he started a band with another unknown musician at the time, Neil Young. Together, they formed the Mynah Birds and signed to Motown, recording and playing shows until James was arrested in the United States for dodging the draft. He spent one year in prison and then started all over again in California.
Rick James, aka James Ambrose Johnson Jr., played in a variety of different funk and rock bands throughout the rest of the 1960s and early 1970s, taking on production gigs at the same time. After returning to New York, James formed the Stone City Band and signed to the Motown label Gordy, quickly gaining national attention after the release of hit singles “Mary Jane” and “You & I” in 1978. However, it was his 1981 album Street Songs which turned James into a superstar with hit songs “Give it to me Baby” and “Super Freak.”
Throughout his career, dating back to the beginning, Rick James had a reputation because of his pretty original personality and he seemingly fell into amazing stories. The musician claimed he missed a party at Sharon Tate’s house on August 8th, 1969 because he was too hungover. Said party was interrupted by the Manson Family who brutally murdered Tate and others in attendance. At one of his own parties, Salvador Dali allegedly drew his portrait on a napkin, but James ruined it by putting it in his pocket and jumping in the pool with his clothes on.
While on tour in 1981, riding the biggest success of his career to date, Rick James brought a young Prince out on tour. However, he later became angry with the young artist because he was allegedly ripping off his moves. James reportedly got his revenge on Prince by grabbing him by his hair and pouring cognac down his throat until “he started crying like a baby. I laughed,” said James of the story. MC Hammer sampled “Super Freak” in the early 90s, giving James millions in royalties and the partying continued. James was brought to fame in popular culture once more in 2004 when Dave Chappelle and Charlie Murphy told some of his stories on Chappelle’s Show. James sadly passed away at the age of 56 in August 2004. The Jasmine Brand was the first to report about the Rick James biopic.