Martin Scorsese plans Frank Sinatra biopic with DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence

BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 20: Martin Scorsese poses at the Honorary Golden Bear And Homage For Martin Scorsese photocall during the 74th Berlinale International Film Festival Berlin at Grand Hyatt Hotel on February 20, 2024 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Mark Twain once quipped, “Age is a matter of mind rather than matter.” If it doesn’t bother you, it doesn’t matter. When it comes to Martin Scorsese, age certainly makes no difference. After landing 10 Oscar nominations last year for the historical crime film “Killers of the Flower Moon,” the 81-year-old director has been plotting his next projects. Sources say he plans to make two films back to back: the first about Jesus, the second about a Frank Sinatra biopic.

The Oscar-winning director who helped usher in the Hollywood New Wave of the 1970s is seeking to circumvent the studio system and independently finance “The Life of Jesus,” based on Shūsaku Endō’s 1973 book. took the same approach with the 2016 drama “Silence” (which was also adapted from an Endō novel). In fact, Scorsese would like to reunite with “Hush” star Andrew Garfield for the Jesus Project, although it’s unclear whether the 40-year-old actor is being considered for the lead role or to play one of the disciples. (Scholars believe Jesus died between the ages of 33 and 38.) Miles Teller was also sought out for the photo. Production is expected to begin later this year and filming will take place in Israel, Italy and Egypt. Filming in Israel could prove too much of a logistical challenge given that the country is at war with Hamas in Gaza. (A rep for Scorsese declined to comment.)

The Sinatra project could also run into some problems: the legendary crooner’s daughter, Tina Sinatra, controls her father’s estate and has yet to give her blessing to the film. But that didn’t stop Scorsese from assembling a killer cast that would see his frequent collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio play the singer and Jennifer Lawrence portray his second wife, actress Ava Gardner, according to sources. It was Gardner who broke up Sinatra’s marriage to Nancy Barbato, Tina’s mother. Starring two of the biggest movie stars on the planet, the film is attracting interest from major studios and streamers. Apple, which bankrolled the $215 million “Flower Moon” project, would like to stay in business with Scorsese, but Sony is reportedly the favorite to win the project.

Also on the immediate horizon is a collaboration between Scorsese and Steven Spielberg on a “Cape Fear” television series for Apple TV+. The two legends will executive produce the project, based on the 1991 and 1962 Universal films. (Scorsese directed the 1991 noir thriller, produced by Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment.)

Scorsese isn’t the only director over 75 making some of his most ambitious work. On the program for the recently announced Cannes competition are three of his compatriots: Francis Ford Coppola, 85 years old (with “Megalopolis”), David Cronenberg, 81 years old (“Les Linceuls”) and Paul Schrader, 77 years old (“Les Linceuls”) . Oh, Canada). Their final productive years are remarkable given that Hollywood hasn’t always been kind to aging auteurs – Billy Wilder, for example, spent his last two decades struggling to produce one more film.

“I’m sure most artists want to keep working, but sometimes you’re not lucky enough, fortunate enough, good enough to stay in the arena,” says Schrader, who wrote the screenplay for Scorsese’s landmark film in 1976, “Taxi Driver”. “And if you don’t have that creative drive, you’re just going to be seen as an emblem of something that once existed.” But I had to continue working. I had health issues related to COVID and every time I thought I might die, I had a new idea.

At 86, Ridley Scott literally remains in the arena. Footage of its long-awaited return to the Coliseum for a “Gladiator” sequel became one of the big winners at CinemaCon, where Paramount showed epic scenes to movie theater executives, making headlines in Las Vegas .

“We wanted to make sure you were the first to see these images – and in order to give you a first look, what we’re showing you today is unfinished, but it’s a very exciting piece,” said Brian Robbins, CEO of Paramount, to the crowd. during the presentation on April 11. Perhaps because Scott continues to work with top-notch crew members, the Swords and Sandals saga, which stars Paul Mescal and Denzel Washington, seemed more finished seven months before its Nov. 22 release than some superhero posts. on opening night.

“Ridley Scott is the master of creating the types of cinematic spectacle for which the cinematic experience was created and is among the most tenacious and dynamic writers working today,” said Robbins, who will work with Scott on his next film, a Bee Gees. biopic for Paramount.

For his part, Spielberg, 77, also remains busy. He will likely make his next project a UFO film based on his own original idea. David Koepp is writing the screenplay, according to sources.

But perhaps no feat of career longevity is as impressive as that of Clint Eastwood. The 93-year-old director has just finished post-production on “Juror No. 2.” Insiders say Warner Bros. is thrilled with what he’s seen of Nicholas Hoult’s thriller about a murder trial juror who realizes he might be responsible for the victim’s death. If the film ultimately passes, it will provide a fitting twist given that several studios abandoned the low-risk, low-budget film. Even at 93, Eastwood should never be ruled out.

“Eastwood is the great-grandfather of the geriatric generation,” jokes Schrader. “But there’s a guy from Portugal, (Cannes alumnus) Manoel de Oliveira, who worked until he was 104. So Clint still has a way to go to catch up.”

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