'Sexual Healing' Biopic Focuses On Marvin Gaye's Last Days

Film starring 'Rent' actor Jesse L. Martin chronicles the final three years of the late singer's life.

The final three years of Motown legend Marvin Gaye's life will be revisited in director Lauren Goodman's forthcoming biopic, "Sexual Healing." Production on the film, which will be shot in Hungary and Germany, is set to begin in three months, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Actor Jesse L. Martin — who played Tom Collins onstage and in Hollywood's 2005 adaptation of the Broadway musical "Rent," but is perhaps best known as Detective Ed Green from TV's "Law & Order" — has signed on to portray Gaye in the film.

"Sexual Healing" will revolve around Gaye's emigration to Europe in 1981 — which followed years of tax difficulties, record-label friction and alleged cocaine abuse. Following the move, Gaye staged a triumphant comeback with 1982's Midnight Love, which featured the hit "Sexual Healing." Depression soon followed that high, and Gaye returned to the U.S., moving into his parents' home. After a heated argument, Gaye was shot and killed by his father on April 1, 1984 — the day before his 45th birthday.

"More than just being the voice of a generation, Marvin Gaye proved to be its very heartbeat," Goodman told The Hollywood Reporter. "As a filmmaker, I was drawn to tell the story of a human being who was never fully realized, one with faults and foibles and an uncommon grace expressed every time he picked up the microphone."

There have been several failed attempts to turn Gaye's life and death into a motion picture. "Sexual Healing" was first conceived as a career-spanning project, but rights issues with Gaye's Motown-produced work forced Goodman to rethink the script she'd written and refocus the film on Gaye's final years.

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