A Bernie Mac biopic is in the works at John Legend's production company Get Lifted. Among the most hilarious stand-up comedians of his era, Mac has been deeply missed by both fans along with those who knew him nearly 13 years after his untimely death. The news of the movie about the late actor and comedian was revealed by Legend's producing partner, Mike Jackson, at the 2021 Tribeca Festival.
"We just partnered with Bernie Mac's estate to cover Bernie Mac's story," Jackson explicitly said during a panel discussion. The producer added that the new deal, which he was "very excited about," still has the ink drying on the contract as it had just happened that day. Jackson also revealed that even Legend didn't know about its status yet until that moment when it was revealed to everyone in the room at Tribeca.
"Look at you breaking news over here," John Legend said.
The Get Lifted producers explained that the project is intended to be a scripted feature-length movie about Mac's life and career. Because it's still in the very early stages, there's no additional details about the movie or who might be playing Bernie. In any case, the project marks a full-circle moment for Legend, who actually had a role in Soul Men - one of Mac's final movies that was released after his death in 2008. In the movie, Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson played former backup singers who reunite for a reunion concert after their band's lead singer, played by Legend, passes away.
"The Soul Men reunion you all wanted to see," Legend said at Tribeca, before noting how much Bernie loved to make everyone laugh in between takes by adding: "He truly just got joy from lighting people's faces up with laughter."
"It was beautifully done," Legend also said of The Bernie Mac Show, the comedian's early 2000s sitcom. "His humor was always edgy but it always had so much heart to it at the same time. You could tell he was a family man. You could tell that he loved the people he was talking about."
A lifelong Chicago resident, Bernie Mac first made a name for himself performing his unique brand of stand-up comedy. He rose to further prominence by performing in the stand-up movie The Original Kings of Comedy with Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, and Cedric the Entertainer. For The Bernie Mac Show, the comedian was nominated for two Outstanding Lead Actor Emmy Awards. He also appeared in a variety of movies including Ocean's Eleven, Charlie's Angels, Transformers, Bad Santa, Old Dogs, and Guess Who. Mac died at the age of 50 in 2008 after suffering from sarcoidosis for three years.
There's no word yet on when the untitled Bernie Mac biopic will be released by Get Lifted. For now, fans can spend some time speculating over which actor might be the best person to play Bernie in the movie, although everyone can agree that there's no one else quite like him. With the estate involved and with Legend and Jackson such big fans, the biopic should hopefully do him proud. This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.