A planned Teddy Pendergrass biopic is at the center of a new legal wrangle as the late R&B icon's son and widow battle for control over his estate. Teddy Pendergrass II and the singer's second wife, Joan, have been fighting since the star died from colon cancer in January 2010, after the two parties produced conflicting wills.
Film producer Charlie Mack began working on the project with Pendergrass before his passing, but the picture, which is in pre-production and will star singer-actor Tyrese Gibson as the soul man, has now been put on hold until the late icon's warring family members resolve their conflict.
"It's kind of a rough time," Mack tells America's Sister 2 Sister magazine. "I'm trying to stay as neutral as possible. We had a great relationship with Teddy and Joan, but there's conflict between Teddy Jr. and Teddy's widow, Joan."
However, the producer is confident Tyrese will stick with the delayed biopic until filmmakers get the green light to begin shooting, because it could be the role to define his Hollywood career. He says, "It's the role of Tyrese's life. It's what Ray did for Jamie [Foxx] and Ali did for Will [Smith]. Teddy wrapped his arms around [Tyrese]. [Pendergrass'] mum and many others said, 'Tyrese needs to play him [Pendergrass].' "