Well, this is one music industry biopic I’m actually excited to see, and that has some chance of not disgracing or white-washing the person being portrayed: Benedict Cumberbatch is set to play Brian Epstein. Per The Hollywood Reporter:
Todd Graff wrote the screenplay, whose focus is not a story about The Beatles from Epstein’s point of view but the story of Epstein himself. Sometimes called the “fifth Beatle,” Epstein signed the band in 1961 — before Beatlemania hit — and died in 1967 from an accidental drug overdose. He was a closet homosexual and suffered from gambling and drug addictions — and was many times the glue that held the band together. The producers describe the project as the story of “the man who threw the biggest party of the 1960s but ultimately forgot to invite himself.”
Further signs of optimism: Graff wrote and directed the excellent Camp. And Tom Hanks is going to produce through Playtone, a decision that produced the excellent and mysteriously underrated That Thing You Do.
That movie looked at an American band in the same era as the rise of the Beatles, and told its story through the perspective of the band’s drummer, a late addition to the group, rather than primarily through the perspective of their manager, played by Hanks. But it had a nice, deft sense of what it takes to wrangle young men who are just getting famous, and of the commercial structure that elevated promising bands in the era. Hopefully, this look at Epstein’s life will have those same nice grace notes, and get away from the Lennon-McCartney cliches, without wallowing too much in Tragic Gayness.