HBO takes Gibney’s James Brown doc for U.S., Canada

HBO has picked up the U.S. and Canadian television rights to Alex Gibney's Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown (pictured), which it will premiere on October 27.
September 4, 2014

Pay-TV net HBO has picked up the U.S. and Canadian television rights to the Alex Gibney-directed and Mick Jagger-produced documentary Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown (pictured), which it will premiere on October 27.

The doc – which screened as a work-in-progress at the Tribeca Film Festival in March - follows the singer’s personal journey between genres, from rhythm and blues to funk. It features rare footage, interviews and photographs that trace Brown’s career, from his first hit song in 1956, “Please, Please, Please,” to performances at the Apollo Theater and Paris Olympia, among others.

Some of the doc’s interview subjects include Jagger, Rev. Al Sharpton, Maceo Parker, Clyde Stubblefield, Questlove and Melvin Parker.

“We had full access to amazing never-before-seen photos and video from James Brown’s estate, which Alex Gibney used brilliantly to tell the story of James’s career from its inception through its pinnacle,” said Jagger in a statement.

“We spoke with the extraordinary people who knew James well and worked alongside him throughout his career,” he continued. “By hearing their fascinating stories and memories, we were able to paint the full picture of James as both a musical artist and social activist, whose legacy and impact on the music industry is ever-present.”

Gibney added: “When Mick Jagger reached out to me to direct the documentary, we had a common goal in mind, to take the music of James Brown and put it into a larger historical context.

“As a musician, ‘Mr. Dynamite’ was the essential funk pioneer, a hugely influential figure and one of the greatest live performers – ever. Beyond his music, Brown’s cultural impact extends to the present day.”

Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown will debut on HBO on October 27 at 9 p.m. EST/PST.

The film was produced by Jagger and Victoria Pearman of Jagged Films, Peter Afterman of Inaudible Films, and Blair Foster of Jigsaw Productions. Gibney also served as executive producer.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor-in-chief and content director for Realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to Realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.