Tyrese Gibson: “I Will Be Playing Teddy Pendergrass”

The singer/actor says his big-screen portrayal of the soul legend is still in the works.

Posted: 06/13/2011 10:28 AM EDT
Tyrese Gibson

Over the last few years plenty of singers turned actors have been pegged to many celebrity biopics, but Tyrese Gibson says that all gears are still a go for his onscreen portrayal of Teddy Pendergrass and he promises fans it will be one to watch.

 

“I will be playing Teddy Pendergrass in the movie. It will be my first time singing in a movie, for sure. That’s in motion. We’ll make Teddy proud. He’s smiling down on us now,” Gibson told BET.com. “That’s my step pops forever.”

 

The Transformers star says one of the reasons for the project's delay is a few stumbling blocks with Pendergrass’ family. “We have to get through a bunch of drama and stuff happening right now a little bit with the family. But all of that stuff has to be worked out, then we’ll be able to move forward,” he says.

 

Just as Ray Charles approved the casting of Jamie Foxx to portray him in Ray before the musical great’s passing, Gibson says that he was ordained by Pendergrass to bring his story to life on the screen, and Gibson says he’s using that experience to help him prepare for the role.

 

“I have raw footage of me and Teddy hanging out, him showing me around. He took me to the location where the accident happened that landed him in the wheelchair,” says Gibson. “I’m going to look at that footage right before it’s time to do the movie so it’s all fresh.”

 

Pendergrass shot to fame as the lead singer for Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, was catapulted to solo success in the 1970s and his career became transformed when he was severely paralyzed by  a car accident in 1982. The soul legend died in 2010 at the age of 59. His R&B classics including “Close the Door,” “Turn Off the Lights” and “Love T.K.O.” have been sampled by rappers from Big Daddy Kane to Ahmad.

 

(Photo: Kris Connor/ Getty Images)

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