A mix of personal tribulation and artistic reinvention characterizes the new trailer for "Get on Up," the James Brown biopic that Universal brings to theaters Aug. 1.
Which makes sense, as both were present in abundance in the life of the iconoclastic performer, with a complicated mother relationship taking prime position here. Whether the Tate Taylor-directed film gets at more subtle complexities in Brown's life and music -- the kind investigated in R.J. Smith's compelling biography, about his polarizing relationship with white audiences, his penchant for violence and his unexpected political evolution -- remains to be seen.
Brown, who died in 2006, is at least in good hands here. Talented comer Chadwick Boseman stars as the soul-singing coiffed one, again incarnating a 20th century legend. (If the Jackie Robinson connection wasn't clear for casual viewers, the trailer, as with a previous spot, calls out Boseman's "42' and uses the Robinson-esque tag line "He broke rules; he broke barriers.")
Of course, in areas as diverse as personality and ideology, Brown was far from a Robinson-type figure, another aspect one hopes the movie tackles head-on.