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Tyrese, Teddy Pendergrass

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Singer Tyrese Gibson will take on the role of a lifetime to play soul legend Teddy Pendergrass in a new biopic helmed by Warner Bros. studios, Variety reports.

“I am honored to take this journey… this is the role that I feel I was born to play,” Gibson said. The announcement comes after a years-long battle in production limbo, with Tyrese invested in the lead role. Gibson is producing the movie under his company Voltron Pictures along with Empire creator Lee Daniels and Donald De Line. Teddy Pendergrass’ widow, Joan Pendergrass, will also serve as an executive producer.

“Teddy Pendergrass embraced me and before he passed put the responsibility on my shoulders to tell his story,” Gibson continued. “Being here in this time and in this space and moment with Lee Daniels, Donald De Line, Little Marvin and Warner Bros. is an answered prayer. Teddy, I just hope we make you, your wife and family proud…Here we go!!”

The movie will document the life of Pendergrass who rose to fame as a member of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, with the soul-stirring 1972 single, “I Miss You.” The single propelled the group into the stratosphere and secured them a top 10 hit. Pendergrass continued to rise on his own as a solo artist and enjoyed consecutive hits that explored themes of love, pain, passion and tragedy. In 1982, he suffered a debilitating car accident which left him paralyzed. However, after regaining the ability to sing again, Pendergrass made a triumphant return to the stage during the 1985 Live Aid concert. Until his retirement in 2007, Pendergrass enjoyed traveling and performing. Pendergrass died of cancer in 2010 and is still heralded as one of the most powerful singers in the history of soul music.

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