Taking a cue from the success of 2008’s Cadillac Records and the new Motown musical, Evergreen Media Holdings has secured the rights to make two separate projects about the history of legendary Memphis music label Stax Records, both a film and a Broadway musical. From its founding by Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton to its ultimate implosion, the backstory of Stax is a tumultuous one, and there’s plenty of material ripe to receive the dramatic treatment—the tragic death of Otis Redding, the ousting of a founder, the shady distribution deals, the ascendency of Isaac Hayes. Yet despite the turmoil at the label and of the times, Stax managed to turn out some of the most iconic soul music of the 1960s and ’70s.
In fact, the non-fiction version the story has already gotten plenty of mileage over the last few years, having spawned a TV documentary in 2007, PBS’ Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story, and several books, including 2013’s Respect Yourself: Stax Records And The Soul Explosion by Robert Gordon. Morgan Neville, who was a producer on the 2007 documentary and is fresh off his Oscar win for last year’s 20 Feet From Stardom, will join Gordon as an executive producer on the film.
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