Tyrese Gibson is speaking out after his dream of bringing a Teddy Pendergrass biopic to the masses hit a snag. Gibson has long stated that he gained the approval of the “Love T.K.O.” singer and his widow, Joan Pendergrass, to portray the late performer.
However, according to TMZ, Gibson’s production company, Voltron Entertainment, is currently involved in a legal battle with Joan after claiming she reneged on their agreement over the rights to Teddy’s legacy. The company has invested a reported $450,000 into the project but claims the widow is no longer willing to allow Voltron rights to a book and film about the South Carolina native. Gibson is seeking $1 million in damages.
In a lengthy Instagram post on Sept. 29, Gibson wrote, “This has been 13-plus years in the making. This man embraced me when he was on this earth and shared [with] me, ‘No one can play me in my biopic but you, Tyrese. I’m sure of it.’” The Fast & Furious actor added, “Hearing those words coming from him, as one could imagine, put me under an unbearable amount of pressure, but I knew that I was BORN to play Teddy Pendergrass.”
He went on to express some of his frustrations about the arduous process of getting the film off the ground. “There is nothing more uncomfortable than trying to create magic with inexperienced creatives… I’m very, very sure this will all be figured out… Everyone in Hollywood will tell you [that] biopics are some of the MOST challenging films to try and make because there are so many narratives and nuances that go into creating magic… Really no surprises here. Whatever it takes, this Teddy movie will happen.”
In 2019, Deadline reported that Warner Bros. Pictures acquired the life rights to tell Teddy’s story. At that time, it was announced that Tyrese would play the late soul crooner and that Joan was attached to the project as an executive producer. “Teddy Pendergrass embraced me and, before he passed, put the responsibility on my shoulders to tell his story… I just hope we make you, your wife, and your family proud,” said Gibson in a statement.
Teddy died in January 2010 after a battle with colon cancer. He was 59. The entertainer nicknamed Teddy Bear previously evaded death after being involved in a horrific car accident in 1982 that left him paralyzed from the chest down.
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