Producer Scott Rudin Gets Behind Martin Scorsese's Frank Sinatra Biopic; Writer Being Sought

by Kevin Jagernauth
March 7, 2011 7:29 AM
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'Silence' Will Shoot Next, Followed By 'The Wolf Of Wall Street'



It seems there is a small flurry of activity regarding a few brewing Martin Scorsese projects recently. This morning we reported that Robert De Niro revealed that "The Irishman" was still very much on the docket, though not a certainty just yet, and recently, the director's publicist told us that he was fully committed to shooting his long-gestating passion project "Silence" next (more on this in a second). But yet another project is now gained a little more traction.

Deadline reports that super-producer Scott Rudin ("The Social Network," "True Grit," "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo") is lending his talents to Scorsese's brewing biopic of Frank Sinatra.

The film has been in the works for a couple of years now after Mandalay's Peter Guber and Cathy Schulman secured the life and music rights for the legendary singer and actor and set up the project at Universal. The director has previously noted that Sinatra's life is epic, making the straightforward biopic particularly difficult, and Scorsese is hoping an approach with a few actors playing the singer at various points in his life will allow him an entry into the story saying, "We can’t go through the greatest hits of Sinatra’s life. We tried this already. Just can’t do it. So the other way to go is to have three or four different Sinatras. Younger. Older. Middle-aged. Very old. You cut back and forth in time – and you do it through the music. See what I’m saying? So that’s what we’re trying for. It’s very tricky [laughs]."

Last spring, Scorsese named his two choices for the lead roles and they are some heavyweights as he said, "I'm yet to spot the actor who can bring back Frank Sinatra alive on screen. My choice is Al Pacino, and Robert De Niro as Dean Martin." That would kind of be amazing, but the project is way too early in the game for anything to be solid just yet.

The film has a script from Phil Alden Robinson ("Field Of Dreams," "Sneakers") but the hunt is on for a new writer to take a stab at the material. And that won't be the only thing keeping the film from getting in front of cameras for a while. The plan is for Scorsese to shoot "Silence" next with the recently announced "The Wolf Of Wall Street" to follow. Financing on the latter is expected to be announced at Cannes.

Right now, Scorsese is busy getting the 3D "Hugo Cabret" ready for a November 23, 2011 release and he also has a handful of documentaries -- including one of George Harrison and another on the history of British film -- in various stages of completion.

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