While Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio will be re-upping their bromance this summer, shooting the financial world drama “The Wolf Of Wall Street,” one of the many brewing projects the director has bubbling in the background is his long-in-the-works biopic on the Chairman Of The Board, Frank Sinatra. Last we heard, powerhouse producer Scott Rudin (“The Social Network,” “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo“) came on board last March, and while the film had a script from Phil Alden Robinson (”Field Of Dreams,” “Sneakers”), the plan was to hunt for a new writer to take a stab at the material. And it seems those steps are being taken.
Chatting with Entertainment Tonight, the director revealed the Sinatra movie is still moving, but his life story is so sprawling that the plan is to try and hone in on a specific era. “I’m talking to one or two writers now. The problem is the biography. Where do you start? ‘Hugo‘ took up so much time that I now have to settle in. I met this writer who I think could do a lot with it, but [we] have to get a hold of the story. It’s too unwieldy. I’d love to tell the whole story, but the idea of art is to figure out where to start because we can’t tell his whole life story,” he explained.
Asked if he could take it to HBO and do it as a mini-series, Sinatra concurred that was a “possibility” but it seems going the feature route is still the angle he wants to take. But perhaps the most interesting nugget is that Leonardo DiCaprio might not even be the lead, as has long been expected. Last fall, the actor himself played it cool when asked about the biopic, saying it was in Scorsese’s hands, and the director reveals that finding the right person for the role may mean forgoing a brand-name star.
“Leo’s always talked about doing it, but what if the story takes you in a completely different way? We could go for an unknown. Maybe the person who plays him isn’t important. Maybe it’s distracting to have a star in that role. Yet, you can’t have someone else sing! It’s got to be Sinatra’s voice. It’s tricky. It’s filled with problems – and whatever you do, there’s always going to be people who don’t like it, so you have to find something special. And I think I’ve found it. Now’s the time to execute it on the page,” he said.
So, we’ll see how this develops, but it’s clear that finding the right story to tell is still the nut that needs to be cracked. And as much as we’d like to see this movie happen, we do hope that Scorsese gets around to his dream project, “Silence,” first.