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re: Why don’t we have a Gershwin biopic?
Last Edit: AlanScott 09:31 pm EDT 08/14/22
Posted by: AlanScott 09:30 pm EDT 08/14/22
In reply to: Why don’t we have a Gershwin biopic? - raydan 08:40 pm EDT 08/14/22

In case you didn't know (I can't tell from your post), Scorsese had wanted to do a Gershwin biopic back in the 1980s, and perhaps his desire to do one was there even earlier. Planning for a Scorsese-directed Gershwin biopic goes back to around 1984. Paul Schrader wrote a screenplay. In 1990 or so, John Guare was hired to do a new screenplay. For the next few years they each spoke about it in the press from time to time, although in one interview Guare said he didn't want to say much about it for fear that he would jinx it if he talked about it.

Unfortunately, during that time, the studios were afraid of anything that seemed like a musical. Warner Bros. controlled the rights, and they kept putting it off. At one point, they asked Scorsese to instead do a Dean Martin biopic, which he wanted to do, but then they decided not to do that one also. In 2004, Scorsese said that he doubted the Gershwin movie would ever get made.

Of course, musicals then started to be produced again, but perhaps Gershwin was still considered too risky a subject for a big-budget movie, and I would think that Scorsese would have needed a fairly big budget to make it all look authentic.

Perhaps not coincidentally, it was in 2004 that De-Lovely was released. Irwin Winkler, who produced and directed that, was originally to produce the Scorsese Gershwin pic. Although I think it's unimaginable that the Gershwin movie, had it ever been made, would not have been vastly better than De-Lovely, perhaps the deserved failure of that convinced Hollywood that there was no audience for films about the great Broadway composers of the past.
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