Bernie Mac biopic in development at John Legend’s production company

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“His humor was always edgy, but it always had so much heart to it,” Legend said of Mac, who died in 2008.

A biographic film about the life of comedian Bernie Mac is in the works with Get Lifted, the production company of award-winning singer-songwriter-pianist John Legend.

“We just partnered with Bernie Mac’s estate to cover Bernie Mac’s story,” Mike Jackson revealed during the 2021 Tribeca Festival. Jackson’s news seemed to even surprise Legend, his production partner.

A biographic film about the life of comedian Bernie Mac (above) is in the works with the production company of multiple award winner John Legend. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
A biographic film about the life of comedian Bernie Mac (above) is in the works with the production company of multiple award winner John Legend. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)

“Look at you breaking news over here,” Legend replied, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Jackson called the acquisition a full-circle moment as Legend appeared in one of Mac’s final films, the 2008 hit Soul Men, in which the artist portrayed Marcus Hooks, a bandmate of Louis Hinds, played by Samuel L. Jackson, and Floyd Henderson, the character Mac portrayed. Legend recalled that during the making of Soul Men, Mac “truly just got joy from lighting people’s faces up with laughter.”

Both Legend and Jackson reflected on the life of Mac, who died in 2008, saying The Bernie Mac Show was “beautifully done.”

“His humor was always edgy, but it always had so much heart to it at the same time,” Legend said. “You could tell he was a family man. You could tell that he loved the people he was talking about.”

Get Lifted was launched in 2012 by Legend, Jackson and Ty Stiklorius. The company produced the TV series Underground for WGN and the Academy Award-winning La La Land. It also produced a 2017 revival of August Wilson’s Jitney, which won a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.

In a 2020 interview with IndieWire, Jackson said, “Hollywood has changed over the years, for women and people of color, because it was hard when we started. 12 Years a Slave hadn’t won an Oscar. And so we would pitch projects like a black historic biopic for example, and executives would scoff. So it’s been revealing to have been there before, and then to now see so much more openness and interest in the kind of stories we wanted to tell, but couldn’t.”

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