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Interview:
Aloe Blacc dug into obscure character for new James Brown film
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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With his R&B chops and undeniable charisma, Aloe Blacc could probably have made a case for portraying James Brown in the new biopic "Get On Up."

But with a limited -- i.e., non-existent -- film resume, Blacc was more than happy to just be part of the cast, playing Nafloyd Scott, an early guitarist in Brown's Famous Flames bands.

"That was a different challenge, it really was," says Blacc (real name Egbert Dawkins), 35, who's currently riding high with the hits "The Man" and "Wake Me Up." "But working with brilliant actors and actresses and a great director, Tate Taylor, was a fantastic experience. And Chadwick Boseman is so brilliant as James Brown."

A dearth of information about his character, meanwhile, actually proved to be a blessing for Blacc.

"I had to learn it all," he explains. "There isn't much information about that time in (Brown's) career available, no photos I could find of Nafloyd Scott on Wikipedia or anything. He wasn't really part of the meteoric rise of James Brown; he quit the band because of personality conflicts, before it really took off.

"So it was all about having to learn from the script and some of the archival footage that was available. But it did make it a little bit easier to create my own character, which was nice for the first time doing this."

And, Blacc promises, it won't be the last. "Acting is something that requires a lot of patience, a lot of skill, a lot of internal reflection," he says. "It's a whole new muscle I'm going to continue to develop, either writing screenplays and my own scripts or finding the best roles out there to challenge this new skill."

"Get On Up," which was co-produced by the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger, opens Friday, Aug. 1, in theaters.

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