Boyz II Men, the trailblazing boy band known for their emotional ballads and acapella harmonies, boasts an expansive catalog of hits going back to the group’s inception in the late-’80s. In a world where musical adaptations of existing songbooks are increasingly a dime-a-dozen – think: We Will Rock You, based on Queen, and Mamma MiaI with music by Swedish group ABBA – you might even think a B2B film has been a long time coming. Well, wait no longer: The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that such a project is in the works, with the working title of Brotherly.
The project, a collaboration between Amazon Studios, Davis Entertainment, and Malcolm D. Lee‘s Blackmaled Productions, is a coming-of-age movie musical based on the R&B supergroup’s music. According to the film’s synopsis as reported by THR, it will “follow a group of men who […] will return to West Philadelphia for a high school reunion 20 years after having gone their separate ways – eventually finding hope, redemption and a new understanding of the enduring power of friendship”. In addition to producing, Lee has also been tapped to direct the project. Marcus Gardley, best known as the playwright behind such works as …And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi, is set to write the script.
Lee is best known recently for his work on this year’s Space Jam: A New Legacy, which received broadly negative reviews from critics. The Guardian, in a particularly strong hatchet job, said that “the core issues of the film – its numbing swirls of rainbow light popping out every which way, the excruciating pop-culture catchphrases passed off as humor, LeBron‘s stilted, if game, acting, the halfassedness with which it delivers the dusty moral to be yourself, the fact that it is unaccountably one half-hour longer than its predecessor – all seems minor in comparison to the insidious ulterior intentions that power this fandom dynamo”. Yikes.
Lee, for his money, was a big fan of LeBron‘s performance in the film – he would be, of course – saying this in an interview with The New York Times:
“LeBron’s been in front of the camera since he was 18 years old. Now, I mean, “Oh, those are just interviews,” but people get asked the same questions over and over again. So he’s got some rehearsed responses. He also was very funny. He wants to be good. He was good in Trainwreck. There’s some actors that get something and say, “OK, that’ll cut together.” And some that are just natural. I think LeBron has a lot of natural ability.”
Brotherly does not yet have a release date.