Preview by: Jack Foley
FRESH from his critical success alongside Tom Cruise in Michael
Mann's Collateral, Jamie Foxx
steps into the shows of Ray Charles for his next must-see project.
Ray is a $30 million, never-before-told, musical biographical
drama of American legend, Ray Charles, who is often credited with
the musician most responsible for developing soul music.
Born in a poor town, in Georgia, Ray Charles went blind at the
age of seven, shortly after witnessing his younger brother's accidental
Yet, inspired by a fiercely independent mother, who insisted
he make his own way in the world, Charles found his calling and
his gift behind a piano keyboard.
Touring across the Southern musical circuit, the soulful singer
gained a reputation and then exploded with worldwide fame when
he pioneered incorporating gospel, country, jazz and orchestral
influences into his inimitable style.
As he revolutionized the way people appreciated music, he simultaneously
fought segregation in the very clubs that launched him and championed
artists' rights within the corporate music business.
Ray is designed to provide an unflinching
portrait of Charles' musical genius as he overcomes drug addiction
while transforming into one of this country's most beloved performers
- and could even earn Foxx an Oscar shot.
The film is directed by Taylor Hackford (Proof of Life), and
co-stars Kerry Washington, Clifton Powell and Regina King, among
others, and is being released in the US on October 29, to head
up the Oscar season.
Its trailer looks terrific, while the finished product even got
the seal of approval from Charles, before his death, from liver
disease, in June 2004.
As Hackford, who has wanted to make the film for 15 years, recalls,
'Jamie was tested by fire by Ray, I'll tell you that'.
Having befriended the legendary singer, Hackford persuaded him
to meet Foxx, who had worked tirelessly to recapture the spirit
and talent of the soul legend.
Foxx listed to countless performances and interviews and even
wore eye prosthetics that rendered him blind during shooting,
but even he missed a few notes during his first meeting with Charles.
Come the finish of their time together, however, Hackford delightedly
declared: "[Charles said] that's it, the kid's got it!"
Audiences will be able to judge for themselves shortly.