Warner Bros. has acquired What’s Going On, a new biopic on Marvin Gaye from Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine.

Allen Hughes (Menace II Society, The Book of Eli) will direct the film working off a script written by poet and playwright Marcus Gardley. Hughes previously worked with Dr. Dre and Iovine on their 2017 documentary The Defiant Ones.

The film has the full support of Gaye’s estate and Motown Records, and will feature music from the singer’s legendary catalog.

A timeless and global sensation, and one of Motown’s most famous artists, Gaye is remembered by hits such as “What’s Going On”, “Sexual Healing”, “Let’s Get It On”, and his version of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”. The Grammy-winning soul and R&B singer was just 44 years old when he was fatally shot by his father on April 1st, 1984, at their Los Angeles home.

“[Marvin Gaye] is the artist’s artist, with this ethereal voice that just comes out of the heavens,” said Hughes in a statement. “There have been plenty of great artists, and then Marvin, in his own lane. When you listen, in one measure you feel like you’ve read a novel. Such a rich inner life in that voice, heavenly but riddled with pain, the agony and ecstasy at the same time.”


Deadline reports that Warner Bros. has committed a budget north of $80 million for the film — which would mark the biggest budget ever for an African American musical biopic.

A release date is targeted for 2023.