Peyton Reed (Yes Man) has signed on to direct The Fifth Beatle, an adaptation of the graphic novel about Beatles manager Brian Epstein. Graphic novel author Vivek J. Tiwary penned the screenplay, tracking Epstein’s career as he “helped guide the band to international stardom as their manager, securing their first record deal at a time when no one else was interested, and successfully bringing them to the world stage with a scale and scope no music impresario had ever attempted.” Epstein died of a drug overdose in 1967 at age 32.
Bruce Cohen (Silver Linings Playbook) and Tiwary will produce The Fifth Beatle, slated to begin shoot in 2014. With a director on board, the filmmakers can start the search for their Epstein. See the press release after the break for more details.
Reed is an interesting choice. All four of his features—Bring It On, Down With Love, The Break Up, Yes Man—are comedies, suggesting The Fifth Beatle will take on a lighter tone than your typical biopic. I am intrigued by the material, and as a bonus, the press release boasts: “This marks the first ever feature film about The Beatles to secure music rights to their songs granting unprecedented access to the Lennon/McCartney music catalog.”
Here’s the press release:
THE BREAK-UP DIRECTOR PEYTON REED TO HELM THE FIFTH BEATLE
The New York Times Bestselling Graphic Novel Will be Adapted for the Screen in 2014
New York, NEW YORK (December 4, 2013) – It was announced today that Peyton Reed (BRING IT ON, THE BREAK-UP) has signed on to direct THE FIFTH BEATLE, the film adaptation of the recently released New York Times best-selling graphic novel chronicling the final years of The Beatles’ founder and manager, Brian Epstein. The film is being produced by Academy Award winning producer, Bruce Cohen (AMERICAN BEAUTY, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK) and Tony Award winning producer, Vivek J. Tiwary (“A Raisin in the Sun,” Green Day’s “American Idiot”) who authored the graphic novel. This marks the first ever feature film about The Beatles to secure music rights to their songs granting unprecedented access to the Lennon/McCartney music catalog. The screenplay is written by Tiwary, the project is slated to begin production in 2014 and the casting of the Brian Epstein role will begin now that Reed is on board.
Reed’s big screen debut came in 2000 with the cheerleading sleeper hit, BRING IT ON. The film grossed $90 million worldwide, opening at number one and staying in the top 10 for seven weeks. Following the success of BRING IT ON, Reed was at the helm of 2003’s cult favorite DOWN WITH LOVE, starring Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor, and THE BREAK-UP, starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, in 2006, which debuted at #1 and has grossed over $203 million globally. Most recently, in 2008, Reed directed YES MAN, starring Jim Carrey. The film opened number one at the box office, bringing in $18.3 million on opening weekend, and eventually grossing over $225 million worldwide.
“From the moment I read Vivek’s graphic novel, I knew I wanted to be the person to bring Brian’s story to the big screen. I’m a lifelong Beatles fan, obviously, but it’s Brian’s fascinating life that really blew me away and drew me to this project. He’s the ultimate outsider who, against all odds, became the ultimate insider. He was responsible for shepherding the most popular artistic expression of “love” in the history of modern culture, and yet he wasn’t allowed to express his own love during that time,” said Reed of his latest endeavor.
Tiwary and Cohen added, “Peyton’s films are incredibly fun and entertaining, while still underscoring a serious empathy for the struggle for accomplishment, belonging, and the need to love and be loved… In brief, Peyton is simply the perfect director to take the Brian Epstein story to the big screen. We’re honored and excited to be working with him!”
THE FIFTH BEATLE recounts the untold true story of Epstein, the brilliant visionary who discovered The Beatles and helped guide the band to international stardom as their manager, securing their first record deal at a time when no one else was interested, and successfully bringing them to the world stage with a scale and scope no music impresario had ever attempted. Epstein’s boast—“The Beatles will be bigger than Elvis!”— seemed absurd in 1961, but proved humbly prophetic by 1967. When he died at the age of 32, he was an extremely successful artist manager and entertainment impresario, but a painfully lonely young man.