While Hollywood has always looked to the lives of interesting or historically important figures as sources of subject matter, it seems that the studios have developed a renewed interest in high profile bio-pics over the past decade. With the critical and commercial success of such movies as “Ray,” “Walk the Line,” “Capote,” “The Aviator,” and “Milk,” it’s no wonder that the A-list of Hollywood directors and actors are signing on left and right to tackle some history’s more complex individuals.
Personally, my ears perk up whenever I hear of an upcoming movie that pairs a high-profile director with a high-profile actor or subject matter. With that in mind, be on the look out for these movies that are now in the works:
Director Steven Spielberg takes on the most revered President in American history with two time Oscar winner Daniel Day Lewis (My Left Foot and There Will Be Blood) signed on to play the title role. If this weren’t enough reason to be excited, the script will be written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Tony Kushner (Angels in America).
Oscar winning director and film icon Martin Scorsese will direct the big screen movie about the colorful life of entertainment legend Frank Sinatra. While there has apparently been no official casting, Scorsese was quoted in The Hindu, a daily Indian newspaper, as saying he had “yet to spot” the actor who might bring back Sinatra alive on screen, but added: “My choice is Al Pacino, and Robert De Niro as Dean Martin.”
Producer Ron Howard has teamed up with the legendary Clint Eastwood to direct the bio-pic of J. Edgar Hoover, perhaps one of the most fascinating American figures of the 20th Century (take a look at his wikipedia page.) And who better to portray the tortured, cloak-and-dagger guru than Leonardo DiCaprio, who is rumored to be the guy for this one.
Other Projects of Note:
- Competing bio-pics of Princess Diana, the first rumored to involve Charlize Theron as Di and Ewan McGregor as Prince Charles, and the second to involve Keira Knightly (or Scarlett Johansson) as Di and Dame Helen Mirren as her mother.
- A 2pac bio-pic directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter, Brooklyn’s Finest) and written by Oscar-nominated team of writers, Stephen J. Rivele and Chris Wilkinson (Ali, Nixon).
- Antoine Fuqua is also currently working on a bio-pic of Columbian drug titan, Pablo Escobar.
- Andrea Berloff – who co-wrote director Oliver Stone’s 2006 9/11 drama World Trade Center – has been hired by New Line Cinema to write the script for Straight Outta Compton, the true-life story of the infamous rap music group, N.W.A.
- Naomi Watts is set to star in a biopic of Marilyn Monroe, based on a controversial book which detailed the actress’s love affairs and encounters on the casting couch. The movie, titled Blonde, is reportedly slated to start filming in January, and it will be directed by Andrew Dominik, the moviemaker behind The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
- Planned bio-pics of music legends Bob Marley, Janus Joplin, and Marvin Gaye are also reportedly in the works, but the filmmakers have found difficulty obtaining the rights to their subjects’ songs.