Soul Men Director Expresses Dismay over Tragic Deaths of Co Stars Isaac Hayes and Bernie Mac

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The world was shocked last weekend by the death of two entertainment giants within a day of each other. Comedian died from pneumonia complications Saturday, and on Sunday singer was found dead in his home – a suspected stroke victim. The deaths were especially jarring for director Malcolm D. Lee, whose upcoming film “Soul Men,” stars both performers.

“It was surreal,” Lee told ABC News. “It had to be some sort of bad dream that these two giants would die on the same weekend, and both would be in my movie.” Distributor The Weinstein Co. confirms that no significant changes will be made to the movie, according to Eurweb.com. Still, Lee feels pressure to do the late performers justice.

“This isn’t like ‘Dark Knight,’ where Heath Ledger died while editing was in its infancy,” Lee says. “Most of our editing is done. We’ll go back and see if there is anything we can do better. But (Mac) left us with an indelible performance. I think I got him at the top of his game.”

In the movie, Bernie Mac stars opposite Samuel L. Jackson, in a tale of two estranged soul singers who reunite to honor their deceased band leader. Hayes played himself in the film. Lee, who is cousin to fellow director Spike Lee, says Mac’s “Soul Men”character “is eternally positive, and that’s the way he was in real life. (The movie) gave him an opportunity to be extremely raw and showcase his singing and dancing talent.”

Isaac Hayes, the director says, “had to be in the movie.” Lee adds, “His impact on music is immeasurable. I’ve listened to his music my whole life; he changed what soul music could be. He’s the man. They both were. I want my movie to be a tribute to both of them.”