The idea of two middle-aged soul singers grudgingly reuniting for a tour twenty years after an acrimonious breakup may not sound terribly original, but when you factor in Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac… you at least hope it’ll be worth watching. But when you also factor in the screenwriting team of Robert Ramsey and Matthew Stone, the best you can hope for (judging from their track record to date) is Intolerable Cruelty – and that’s only if the Coens deign to direct.
Sadly, the Coens will have nothing to do with Soul Men, which will begin shooting this January for Dimension Films (with David "Son of Fred" Friendly and Steven Greener producing). Jackson and Mac will play "two former backup soul singers who are part of a famed group" who are forced to tour together when their band’s frontman croaks. Given that the production is bucking to license the Stax Records catalogue, it sounds like the group is supposed to be a thinly veiled version of The Dramatics. This could be fun, especially if the producers secure the rights to all of that great music; if nothing else, the soundtrack will be killer.
Soul Men is scheduled to begin shooting in January after Jackson finishes up The Spirit for Frank Miller. Until a director is attached, there’s no reason to expect anything better than a moderately amusing version of The Five Heartbeats. Still, better this than a half-assed biopic centered around Marvin Gaye, Jackie Wilson or Sam Cooke (even though the sharks have been circling those properties for years).