‘There is no one out there who knows my brother’s story like I do.’
A miniseries is in the works about late R&B music icon Rick James and his brother LeRoi Johnson, titled My Brother’s Keeper.
Johnson is collaborating on the project with filmmaker Addison Henderson, Shadow and Act reports. The film will chronicle the brothers’ early days in the projects of Buffalo, New York to their personal triumphs and success.
Henderson announced My Brother’s Keeper at a press conference on Sept 18, ahead of a screening of his new feature film, G.O.D. (Givers of Death), which won the Best Screenplay award at this year’s American Black Film Festival.
“It’s about their lives and how tragedy and triumph set them apart. It’s also about how tragedy brought them together and made them more than they could ever be alone,” Henderson said of My Brother’s Keeper.
The official description:
Growing up, the brothers could not have taken more different paths. Rick became a celebrated singer-songwriter, musician, and producer best known for hit songs Super Freak and Mary Jane. And LeRoi, a Georgetown Law graduate, pursued a legal career and worked his way up the political ladder in Washington, DC. No stranger to controversy and always ready to challenge the establishment, Rick rose to musical fame by doing things his own way. Behind the scenes, LeRoi was right there using his business and legal skills to support Rick and guide his career over the decades.
The project is especially significant for Henderson and Johnson because their families have known each since the 1940s.
“There is a strong connection between myself and Addison that goes back to his father and my grandfather which makes this right,” Johnson said. “I’ve been feeding him history on what went on with myself and my brother and he would come back after he wrote something and we would work it. The main thing is that everything has to be real and true to life.”
Johnson chose Henderson to helm the miniseries because “he has the skills and qualities of the producer and director that are needed for this project. He has the talent, drive and ability to do a series of this importance.”
“There is no one out there, period, who knows my brother’s story like I do. People know pieces, but no one knows the full story,” he added.
Henderson said he spent “many hours over the past year and a half with LeRoi soaking up the stories and turning them into a storyline for a film.”
Adding, “But there ended up being so much to tell, so many dynamic moments in these brothers’ lives, the script evolved into a seven-episode mini-series. I feel like this partnership with LeRoi was destined to happen. Our family history and the years I have invested in perfecting my craft has led me to this moment.”
Production on My Brother’s Keeper is slated to start in 2021 in Buffalo, New York.
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