CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’
Martin Scorsese to Direct Frank Sinatra Biopic
CHICAGO – One of the best directors that ever lived, Martin Scorsese, is about to tackle the life story of one of the best singers in the history of his form, Frank Sinatra, according to today’s Variety.
The trade announced today that Universal Pictures has acquired the rights to the screenplay for “Sinatra” from Mandalay Pictures and hired the prolific director of “The Departed,” “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” and many more to helm and produce the film. Scorsese has been trying to get a biopic about Ol’ Blue Eyes off the ground for years and Universal and Mandalay’s Peter Guber and Cathy Schulman have apparently been developing this particular project for two years on their own as they tried to secure the life and music rights for one of the most beloved music icons of the twentieth century.
Keith Richards (left) and director Martin Scorsese backstage at the Beacon Theater while filming the Rolling Stones concert film “Shine a Light”.
Photo credit: Jacob Cohl, RST Concerts
Schulman tells Variety, “He was such a beloved man. The responsibility we are taking on to tell his story — that would cause anyone to be very careful about who they grant these rights to. Everyone knows that Marty Scorsese is a final-cut director. So there had to be a lot of trust that he would tell this story in a way that didn’t destroy (Sinatra’s) memory.”
The life of Frank Sinatra has been told several times in book form and on the small screen in an acclaimed mini-series but never as a theatrical feature. No one has been cast yet in the title role but Variety is already looking at Scorsese’s latest muse, Leonardo DiCaprio, a logical fit considering the talented actor has starred in four Marty films already - “Gangs of New York,” “The Aviator,” “The Departed,” and the upcoming “Shutter Island”.
The writer of “Field of Dreams,” Phil Alden Robinson, is hard at work on the screenplay, one that Schulman claims will touch on all phases of Sinatra’s life and be “an unconventional biopic”. Sinatra was an unconventional man, someone whose life stretched from music to cinema and through the lives of President Kennedy and possible mob connections. The idea of Martin Scorsese tackling a life this dramatically rich makes “Sinatra” one of the more interesting projects in any state of production.
Martin Scorsese’s next film, “Shutter Island,” based on the book by Dennis Lehane, will be in theaters this fall. Previous credits of this Oscar-winning legend include “The Departed,” “The Aviator,” “Gangs of New York,” “Casino,” “The Age of Innocence,” “Cape Fear,” “Goodfellas,” “The Last Temptation of Christ,” “The Color of Money,” “The King of Comedy,” “Raging Bull,” “Taxi Driver,” and “Mean Streets,” among many others. He also has a music background, making the highly acclaimed concert films “Shine a Light” and “The Last Waltz”.