Martin Scorsese is adding yet another title to his already overcrowded list of potential film projects. Variety is reporting that Universal Pictures and the estate of Frank Sinatra have come to an agreement that will allow Scorsese to direct a film based on the singer’s life entitled simply Sinatra.
Producer Peter Gruber has been quietly working on the project for the past two years and has only recently secured permission from the Sinatra family as well as the music rights to Sinatra’s vast catalogue of hits. Phil Alden Robinson, writer of Sneakers and Field Of Dreams, is currently drafting a screenplay.
Currently, Scorsese is finishing up post-production on the thriller Shutter Island as well as a documentary on Beatle George Harrison. Following the completion of these two films he is launching into the historical drama Silence. After that, he has in various stages of development ten other films- from a bio-pic on Teddy Roosevelt to a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s High And Low to an adaptation of the book I Heard You Paint Houses to a documentary on Elia Kazan. It is a fair bet to say that more than one of these projects will stall out in development. Perhaps even Sinatra.
But if the project does get before the cameras, it should be interesting to see how deep the film will dig into his personal life, with Sinatra’s daughter Tina Sinatra serving as an executive producer. Sinatra was often besieged by personal demons, once good-naturedly referring to himself as an “18-karat manic depressive.” His business and personal relationships with many accused organized crime figures had been the stuff of tabloid fodder and rumor mills for decades.
Of course, at this early stage, there’s no casting info to report. It is interesting to speculate who Scorsese will tap for the role though. Will Scorsese cast based on acting chops and passing physical resemblance like James Franco and then dubbing in Sinatra’s real singing voice as Variety’s article suggests? Will he turn to his recent go-to collaborator, Leonard DiCaprio? Perhaps an actor who can sing like mark Wahlberg, Kevin Spacey, Hugh Jackman or Russell Crowe? How about a singer who has done some acting like Harry Conick, Jr.? Maybe Joe Piscopo? Seth Rogen?
(And I’m surprised I got through this entire story about the Chairman of the Board without making one Carrot Top reference…)