James Brown’s Son, Nephew Working In Film

Two family members of James Brown have been helping “Get On Up” movie officials throughout filming in Natchez to ensure “The Godfather of Soul” properly shines on the big screen.

Photo: Mark Duncan, File/AP
Performing during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans.

Jason Brown, James Brown’s grandson, is working as a production assistant for the biopic being directed by Mississippian Tate Taylor.

Jason, 23, graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2012 and worked on a few projects before he got signed up to help with the Universal Studios production, which is his first feature film.

“My mother reached out to (a producer) and notified him of my film career and how it kind of made sense for us to connect on this project,” Jason said. “Through a few emails, I finally got an interview, and (the producer) felt it would be an asset to have people like myself working on the film.”

Jason grew up in Augusta, Ga., and easily recalls some of his favorite memories of his grandfather who he would see several times throughout the year.

“His persona, his voice, his aura are just things you can’t forget,” Jason said. “Every family function that he could make it to, he was there, and whenever he wasn’t touring we would get a chance to see him.

“He was already established as a legend when I was growing up, so I just remember him being very respected by everyone.”

Darren Glenn, James Brown’s nephew, is also working with movie officials to help find entertainers to play the roles of musicians in the film.

Glenn’s father was James Brown’s road manager for 40 years, and Glenn said he grew up taking notes of every note, move and mannerism of “The hardest working man in show business.”

“By spending all my life at thousands of his concerts, I could sit in the audience and would know what song he was going to play next just by his hand movement or his expression,” Glenn said. “I would start signing it before it would even come on and even (James Brown) would say, ‘How’d you know I was going to play that?’“

Glenn said it’s those details that movie officials have been hoping to bring about and ensure make it into the film.

“I get asked 100 questions a day, at least,” Glenn said, laughing. “In story-telling, you have to make sure you hit on certain points, and the accuracy is very important in this film, so there are a lot of things: they ask us what he did, what he would do and what he was like.”

A lot of those questions, Glenn said, have come from actor Chadwick Boseman, who was cast to play James Brown in the movie.

“Chadwick and I talk all the time because it’s important for him to portray (James Brown) the way he was,” Glenn said. “There’s no place in this world you can go, and they don’t know about James Brown, so it’s important to capture who he was, and everyone is putting in 100 percent every day to do that.”

Filming in Natchez began in early November and is scheduled to wrap Friday before heading to Jackson from Jan. 6 through 24.

Jason and Glenn said they had no idea what to expect when they found out they’d be traveling to Natchez, but have been pleasantly surprised.”

“Natchez has made us one big family because of how small the city is and it’s forced us to work and play together,” Jason said. “It’s made us appreciate the project a lot more because it has brought us together.”

Glenn said he enjoyed getting back to the South after spending so much time living in Los Angeles.

“It’s been a good break for me to come back and get that Southern hospitality, and I’m going to miss Natchez,” Glenn said. “It’s like a quiet secret.”