Martin Scorsese, arguably the greatest living American director, is bringing Frank Sinatra to the Big Screen.
Universal Pictures and Mandalay Pictures are teaming on Sinatra and have brought on Scorsese, who has long flirted with a biopic on the singer/actor, to direct and produce.
Universal and Mandalay’s Peter Guber and Cathy Schulman have been quietly developing the project for two years while they worked feverishly to secure the life and music rights from Frank Sinatra Enterprises; a joint venture of the Sinatra Estate and Warner Music Group.
Phil Alden Robinson is writing the screenplay.
While no actor is attached to star in the film, Schulman said Leonardo DiCaprio is an obvious candidate because he has become Scorsese’s go-to actor over the past decade, having starred in the director’s past four films: Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed and the upcoming Shutter Island. Because any music in the film will come from Sinatra’s recordings, it will not be necessary to cast an actor who is a proficient singer.
The process of getting the rights to the late entertainer’s life and particularly his music was “very complicated, as you can imagine,” Schulman said, because of the multiple parties involved. “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,” she added. “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 project marks the first Big Screen picture to be made about the Hoboken, New Jersey, native, whose life provided endless fodder for the gossip columnists because of his tumultuous love affairs, infamous friendships with the likes of President Kennedy and possible Mafia ties. Schulman described the story as an unconventional biopic that will touch on all phases of Sinatra’s life.
“My father had great admiration for the talent of the people he chose to work with, and the talented people who worked with my father had great admiration for him,” said Tina Sinatra. “It is personally pleasing to me that this paradigm continues with Marty Scorsese at the helm of the Sinatra film.”
“We have dreamed of making a movie about Frank Sinatra, and Marty Scorsese is undeniably the perfect vision keeper for this project,” said Guber, whose Mandalay shingle has a first-look deal at Universal.
This would not be Scorsese’s first foray into the biopic world, having done Raging Bull, about boxer Jake LaMotta, in the 80’s and more recently The Aviator, about Howard Hughes.
Tags: Biopic, Frank Sinatra, Martin Scorsese