TODAY   |  March 05, 2014

Mick Jagger on James Brown: I did ‘some of his moves’

TODAY’s Willie Geist goes behind the scenes of Mick Jagger’s latest passion project. The  Rolling Stones frontman is producing “Get on Up!” a biopic of legendary soul singer James Brown, to whom he acknowledges his debt.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> if you were to create a list of the greatest front men in rock 'n' roll history, who would be at the front of the list?

>> mick jagger .

>> jagger , jagger , jagger . and not only strutting on stage, but when he's not, he's working on a passion project. you got a chance to sit down with him.

>> i did. it's cool to see a star as big as mick jagger is be a huge fan of another artist. in this case, we're talking about james brown . i recently visited mick on the set of the biopic he's producing on the godfather himself james brown .

>> he was the hardest working man in show business , an on stage tornado of singing, dancing and sexual energy. so who better to bring james brown 's life and legacy to the big screen than a kindred spirit ?

>> how far back do you go with james brown ? do you remember when you first met the man?

>> yeah, i think 1964 in new york. i went to see him during a show. he treated me like i was kind of just new on the block. which is what i was, of course.

>> right.

>> did you borrow any of his dance moves ? you're here a little bit and he's down --

>> yeah. some other ones. but, used to do in the early '60s some of his moves.

>> although jagger and brown were not close friends, the rolling stones front man was an early fan. some time after brown's death in 2006 , jagger helped to resurrect an abandoned hollywood plan to tell the godfather's story. he reached out to academy award winning producer brian graser.

>> get this incoming call from outer space from literally the most famous and probably the most talented human being on the planet mick jagger .

>> hello, brian .

>> the clouds parted.

>> yeah, and then the voice of mick jagger came through and said i've got the rights to the music, let's do a film.

>> yeah.

>> is that the way it happened?

>> if brian says so, it must be so.

>> they brought on director tate taylor, a lifelong james brown fan who directed the acclaimed film "the help."

>> my goal -- and you can hear it here first, is i want you standing in front of your seat in the theater dancing.

>> the job to get those dancing in the theater falls to chadwick bosman .

>> james brown is like a superhero. he can do anything, say anything.

>> he takes on the ambitious role of james brown without any prior training in singing or dancing.

>> you picked an actor in chadwick bosman who by all accounts so far is doing an incredible james brown .

>> i just forget i'm directing a movie.

>> you're mesmerized.

>> i'm mesmerized by him. it's like that every single day.

>> for him to achieve that is an achievement.

>> tell me about this split. the james brown split is a little different from another split. you've got to nail it and come back up.

>> yeah.

>> have you perfected it?

>> well, i haven't gotten stuck down there. let's put it that way.

>> he told me he had to learn to not only jump into a split but more importantly to get out of the split.

>> out of the split.

>> that's the real trick. a young mick jagger appears in the film just as the real thing leads the rolling stones back on the road once again.

>> we're talking here about 20-year-old mick jagger . here we are 70-year-old mick jagger set to go back out on tour.

>> i've been practicing doing my moves in the gym and everything.

>> rolling stones are touring asia. right now they're in tokyo, tomorrow night if anyone wants to take a road trip .

>> you paying for it?

>> i'm not paying for it. as for the film "get on up," opens nationwide on august 1st . couple of things, mick jagger doesn't take anything lightly. he's not just stamping his name on this. he's in every meeting, he's on every phone call . he's really involved in this. because he's a fan of james brown . other thing, this young actor chadwick bosman is going to blow people away. the whole movie is contingent on this one guy. he learned the moves, the voice, he's doing a great james brown .

>> incredible career. to play jackie robinson and now james brown . my gosh. he's all set.

>> remember that time you and mick jagger were just hanging out. are you dying of happiness?

>> i had to give him some of my moves.

>> the up top versus the down low.

>> give him the other one.

>> he's got