Bernie Mac, Isaac Hayes in "Soul Men" encore

Wed Nov 5, 2008 12:07pm EST
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comedian Bernie Mac and soul giant Isaac Hayes died a day apart in August after finishing work on the movie "Soul Men".

But as the comedy opens on Friday, the two stars are back on screen in splendid form, in a movie drenched with music from another era.

During filming, both Mac and Hayes performed in less than stellar health. Mac starred in the film as an aging soul singer looking to return to fame, and Hayes appeared as himself.

Samuel L. Jackson, who starred in "Soul Men" with Mac, said the film was a perfect last role for the comedian he befriended years ago.

"It bothers me more that Bernie didn't get to see the movie than that he passed," said Jackson, 59. "Because he did this film, and he did a great job in it, and it's an amazing tribute to what he is and who he's been."

The movie revolves around the music of Stax Records, the soul music label founded in Memphis, Tennessee that was a musical home in the 1960s to Hayes and some of the leading black performers of the day.

The movie follows fictional singers Floyd Henderson (Mac) and Louis Hinds (Jackson) on a road trip to reclaim the singing glory they once enjoyed in a famous soul music trio.

The trio falls apart when lead singer Marcus Hooks (John Legend) goes solo. But when Hooks suddenly dies, Henderson and Hinds come to terms with their own fractured friendship as they dust off their act and perform in a tribute show for their former bandmate.   Continued...

<p>Bernie Mac smiles at the premiere of "Ocean's Thirteen" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California in this June 5, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files</p>