Way back in 2009, Martin Scorsese came aboard to direct a biopic based on the life of iconic crooner Frank Sinatra. Over the years, there have been a few updates on this project, with writers and cast members coming and going, but production never fully got under way. While promoting his new film Silence, which is currently in theaters, Martin Scorsese confirmed that this project is dead, due to complications with the singer/actor’s family.
This Frank Sinatra biopic once had stars like Al Pacino eyeing the project, with the director teasing several years ago that he also wanted Robert De Niro to play Frank Sinatra‘s fellow Rat Pack member Dean Martin. Still, neither of those actors signed on, and there hasn’t been any word on the project in quite some time. The Toronto Sun caught up with Martin Scorsese, who revealed that the remaining members of the crooner’s family don’t want certain aspects of his life on the big screen, which lead to the project being canceled.
“We can’t do it! I think it is finally over. They (remaining members of the Sinatra clan) won’t agree to it. Open it up again and I’m there! Certain things are very difficult for a family, and I totally understand. But, if they expect me to be doing it, they can’t hold back certain things. The problem is that the man was so complex. Everybody is so complex – but Sinatra in particular.”
The last update we had on this project was back in 2012, when screenwriter Billy Ray came aboard to take over the writing duties from Phil Alden Robinson, who was attached to write the screenplay way back in 2009. Producers Peter Guber and Cathy Schulman secured the life and music rights from Frank Sinatra Enterprises. The story will follow the crooner’s life from his upbringing in Hoboken, New Jersey to his career in Hollywood where he sold millions of records as a singer and won an Oscar in 1953 for his role in From Here to Eternity. Back in 2012, Martin Scorsese teased he was considering using 3D on this biopic, but that became a moot point since the film never got off the ground. Here’s what he had to say in his 2012 interview.
“I agree with Steven Spielberg. I had always been interested in 3D, and I thought it made sense for Hugo. Generally, whenever there’s a new technological development, there’s a corresponding sense of excitement. The same thing happened with the introduction of three-strip Technicolor and CinemaScope and Dolby. And then everyone remembers it’s only a means, not an end. Real 3D is beautiful, but it’s just one choice, one tool among many, and you only want to use it if it’s the right tool.”
There was even a competing project coming together at one point, which would have starred George Clooney and Angelina Jolie as Marilyn Monroe. That film will was set to be an adaptation of the Andrew O’Hagan novel, The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend, Marilyn Monroe. The story would be told through the perspective of Maf the Dog, who was given to Marilyn Monroe as a gift from Frank Sinatra. That film never got off the ground either, despite its all-star cast. Unless the Sinatra family has a sudden change of heart, it doesn’t look like this film will hit the silver screen either.