Get Lifted’s Mike Jackson revealed the news to the world — and Legend himself — during a panel discussion at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday. Apparently, the deal between the production house and Mac’s estate to make a film about the late comedian “just happened today,” and so was “something that John doesn’t know about yet.”
“Look at you breaking news over here,” joked a surprised Legend in response (via The Hollywood Reporter).
Mac passed away two months before his 51s birthday in 2008 after being treated in a Chicago hospital for sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease that was attacking his lungs. Prior to his death, Mac had made a name for himself as one of the biggest names in comedy, starring alongside Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, and D. L. Hughley in the Spike Lee-directed The Original Kings of Comedy. He also received two Emmy nominations for his sitcom The Bernie Mac Show, which ran for five seasons between 2001 and 2006.
Mac’s other notable movie appearances included Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Mr. 3000; and Transformers. One of his final roles was 2008’s posthumously released Soul Men, which also co-starred Legend. Legend played Marcus Hooks, a soul singer whose death brings about the reunion of his estranged backup singers, Floyd Henderson (Mac) and Louis Hinds (Samuel L. Jackson).
Mike Jackson pointed out that this makes the new biopic something of a full-circle for Legend. “The Soul Men reunion you all wanted to see,” quipped Legend.
Calling The Bernie Mac Show “beautifully done,” Legend said of Mac, “His humor was always edgy but it always had so much heart to it at the same time. You could tell he was a family man. You could tell that he loved the people he was talking about.”
Unsurprisingly as the deal was only freshly finalized, no further details about the project were revealed.