Tyrese Gibson will be playing Teddy Pendergrass in an upcoming film based on the late R&B singer’s life, according to Deadline.
Gibson will also produce the movie through his company Voltron Pictures, along with Lee Daniels, while Pendergrass’ widow Joan Pendergrass will play an executive producer role. The screenplay will also be penned by Little Marvin, probably best known for creating the Amazon series “Them.”
Born Theodore DeReese Pendergrass, the late singer first broke on the scene as the lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. According to AllMusic.com, Pendergrass got his start by singing at church in his hometown of Philadelphia, though he was born in Kingtree, S.C.
Eventually, Pendergrass left Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, because he and Melvin, who was the original lead singer, began arguing over the spotlight. As a solo artist, Pendergrass released four consecutive platinum albums, which spawned hit singles like “Only You,” “Turn off the Lights” and “I Don’t Love You Anymore.”
He was also known for putting on all-female concerts and became one of the biggest sex symbols of his day.
But Pendergrass’ life instantly changed on March 18, 1982 when his Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit slammed into a guard rail and hit two trees on the opposite side of traffic. His spinal cord was badly injured, and he became a quadriplegic, who had to learn how to sing again with the help of a specialist.
Pendergrass made his return to the stage on July 13, 1985 at the Live Aid Concert in London’s Wembley Stadium. He also began the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance to help others with spinal cord injuries, then died in 2010 from respiratory failure.
In a recent statement, Gibson said the role of of the R&B legend was tailor-made for him.
“I am honored to take this journey,” he stated. “This is the role that I feel I was born to play. Teddy Pendergrass embraced me, and before he passed put the responsibility on my shoulders to tell his story. Being here in this time and in this space and moment with Lee Daniels, Donald De Line, Little Marvin and Warner Bros is an answered prayer. Teddy, I just hope we make you, your wife and family proud. Here we go!!”
Gibson is also in the process of shooting the film “Black & Blue,” a cop drama, and he’ll also begin shooting the “Fast and the Furious 9.”
On Thursday, Daniels also commented on the Pendergrass film and expressed how eager he is to start working on it. “So excited about this one,” he wrote. “#teddypendergrass 🕺🏿🎤🕺🏿 @tyresewill crush this 🔥… #inthepipeline 😎.”